Afghan refugees grateful to settle into 'bright future' in Calgary

Thousands of Afghan refugees are on their way to a new life in Canada, with many of them coming through Calgary. As Gil Tucker reports, people in the city are now working hard to welcome them, after their narrow escape from the terror of the Taliban.

Thousands of Afghan refugees are on their way to a new life in Canada, with many of them coming through Calgary.

Calgarians are now working hard to welcome them after their narrow escape from the terror of the Taliban.

“We are lucky. Before the Taliban came, two days before, we left Afghanistan,” refugee Nangiayli said.

“We left everything there.”

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Nangiayli, whose last name Global News is not reporting to protect the safety of his family in Afghanistan, rushed with his wife and five children to catch a flight out of the danger, finding safety in Canada.

Nangiayli’s family is now staying at a resettlement centre run by the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. They’re among 100 Afghans the CCIS has taken in over the past few days.

“I came with my wife, three kids and my mother,” refugee Saddat said. “We all feel at home here.”

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CCIS organizers are preparing to help them learn about the basics of life in Calgary.

“We have recruited a lot of volunteers, mainly people who speak the language,” CCIS CEO Fariborz Birjandian said. “They need a place to stay, food, activities for children, mental health issues. They have a lot of fears, so we try to eliminate that for them.”

Many of the fears are for family members back home in Afghanistan.

“My brother is living now in Afghanistan, and the Taliban tried to kill him. This happened like, three, four days ago, Nangiayli said. “Nobody trusts the Taliban.”

Canadian soldiers who fought the Taliban are now volunteering to help Afghan refugees in Calgary.

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“These people were side by side with them in the danger areas,” Birjandian said, “so there’s a huge, huge interest by veterans to support these people well.”

About 5,000 refugees from Afghanistan will be coming through Calgary over the next three months. Some will eventually move on to other parts of Canada while others will settle in Calgary.

“We find a lot of good people here. Everyone says welcome,” Nangiayli said. “My children, today they went to the zoo, and they’re very happy.”

The CCIS is appealing for donations of money and clothing to support the refugees from Afghanistan, inviting people to donate online.

“I can say thanks so much,” Saddat said. “ help us to make a new life and new bright future here for our family and for our children.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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