Afshan, like many other women in Pakistan, found herself alone in the struggle to search for her missing son. Today, REFUNITE is supporting her in the quest to reunite with her son.
“I am not alone anymore and I am full of hope”
Afshan Bibi*, 67, is a refugee from Afghanistan. For the past 19 years she has been living in a refugee camp in Islamabad, Pakistan. She is one of the many refugees who are facing hardships, separation and loss of loved ones in the country.
Afshan has been separated from her son, Farjaad*, since 2008. Farjaad worked as a laborer at the local vegetable market in Islamabad. He was 16 the last time Afshan saw him. On a hot summer morning he left the refugee camp and set out for work but did not return home at his usual time. As dinner time neared, Afshan started worrying and with the hours passing her sorrow grew stronger and stronger.
“As morning dawned, I couldn’t sit at home anymore. I asked around the camp hoping someone had seen him” recounts Afshan.
Afshan, a woman with a family to take care of, found herself alone in her efforts to find her missing son. Economically vulnerable, unable to leave her daughters at home alone, and dependent on male relatives or neighbors, Afshan often found herself feeling helpless. But she knew she had to be strong and she kept searching for Farjaad.
“As a woman it is very hard to bearing the load of such tremendous responsibilities. Despite all the troubles I have put up with, I have still not been successful in my search for my beloved son.” says Afshan.
When Afshan heard about REFUNITE, her eyes lit up. “It is the first organisation that has contacted me and reached out to help find my son. This has revived my hope. I feel I am not alone now and I hope I will be able to reconnect with my son soon,” says Afshan
Through its project in Pakistan, and in collaboration with the H&M Foundation, is helping women and families by providing a platform to help them reconnect with their missing loved ones. Afshan, like many others that REFUNITE is working with, will now have a chance to find their missing family members.
* For privacy reasons, all names have been changed to protect the identities.
1st March 2018.