heyThe father’s desperation caught the attention of volunteer Anwar Zazze as he dropped nail clippers, toiletries and other soft toys for Afghans arriving at Radisson Blu, Manchester, near the airport.
His child’s infection worsened three weeks after arriving in the UK, as he struggled to get any medical help. The child was unable to sit, eat or sleep. The father, Akhtar Khan*, who had previously been with the Afghan Special Forces trained in Britain, spoke very little English.
Mr Zaze volunteered with the charity Afghan Youth Society, urged Mr Khan to seek help from the Home Office and left. But as he was near his home, he called the family and personally took them to Manchester Hospital and explained their circumstances.
“He’s a little kid, I have a little kid,” said the father of two.
After several hours of waiting, blood tests and tests, the child was given antibiotics, and Mr. Zazze took the family back to their hotel.
Mr Zaze says Afghans fleeing the Taliban are not only hurt but confused.
“Translators have not explained anything clearly. They have to write clear instructions in Pashto and Dari with precise details on how to reach the authorities. It is lacking at the moment,” he says.
Under the UK government’s “Operation Warm Welcome”, Afghan families have been promised the vital health, education, employment and housing assistance they need to “fully integrate into society”.
But a month after their arrival, the Afghan Special Forces and their families tell Granthshala They are still stuck in hotels without clear guidance from authorities on permanent accommodation, with no money, schools or language learning facilities.
UK government said It evacuated 8,000 Afghan civilians and their families through the Afghan Rehabilitation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).
Exact figures for Afghan asylum seekers at the Radisson Blu Hotel near the airport are difficult to come by. Mr. Zazze estimates it could be 200 or more – about half of whom are children. The area is devoid of any parks or shopping centers. Families of up to four or five members are confined in a room. Locals are urging volunteers to offer free rides to families wishing to attend Friday prayers.
“Language is the biggest barrier,” Zazze says, adding that the Home Office must do more to translate their culture.
interpreter here [in the UK] Not familiar with local colloquialisms and cultural intricacies, explains Mr. Zazze. Cultural disparities widen for families coming from remote villages. Mr Zazze says women often feel they are inadequately prepared without him shirt (a long tunic)
“They always ask me for long dresses,” he says, adding that this automatically deters women from going out.
He warned that the government should make provisions for women and children who run the risk of being socially excluded.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Local councils and health partners who resettle families will receive up to £4,500 per child for education, £850 to cover English language provision for adults and up to £850 to support healthcare. £2,600 to cover.”
But Mr Zazze points out: “Children will have lost at least one school year while waiting for the government to process their asylum claims.”
A Home Office spokesman said councils have been given generous integration funds to support those starting a new life in the UK – £20,520 per refugee has been raised over three years to cover the cost. No precise time frame was given for moving asylum seekers to permanent residence or education.
Having arrived in the UK nearly 15 years ago, Zazze can relate to asylum seekers trapped in a quagmire while trying to navigate the social and employment systems.
In the late 90s, after strict Islamic laws were imposed by the Taliban, Mr. Zaze’s father fled to Manchester, fleeing the lush mountains of Paktia province in south-eastern Afghanistan. Mr Zazze followed in 2007. After completing his studies in computer management systems, he started a successful information career. Security and surveillance business.
Regarding the Taliban, Mr Zaze says, “what they promise and what they do are two different things,” echoing similar words from his father two decades ago.
Nine miles away, the Radisson-run six-story Park Inn Hotel in the city center is not far from airport hotels. Here, mothers wearing head scarves are seen walking in and out of revolving doors, making their way to nearby fountains and parks.
Afghan Special Forces jawan Ajab Gul has been staying at the hotel for over a month. The doctors come on call, Mr. Gul says, even if there is a waiting time.
The hotel’s receptionist says the government has booked rooms to quarantine Afghan families, but would not elaborate on the number of stays or the length of their stay.
Mr Gul says his British advisers processed his paperwork expeditiously. But the blocked roads, littered with dirt and stampede, made it impossible for him to travel with his family. some women and children Died trying to travel.
“My family is there. I am alone here,” he says fearing most for his wife and four children. He says the video call several times a day keeps him alert.
“I want someone to ask me who is left behind, and if I need any help,” says Mr. Gul. There is little information on the exact timelines for processing his family papers. A stamp, which does not declare any official status, grants him one year to stay in the country.
Some people get tickets for one year and some for six months, says Mr. Gul. She relies on donations for food and clothing and has no money to buy anything else.
Mr. Zaze has donated 500 phone SIM cards, charging cables and used phones so families can stay in touch.
Still, Mr. Gul considers himself lucky to have seen hundreds of his allies flee the Taliban despite daily fighting, hiding, fearful for their loved ones.
Angered by the British government data breach that exposed the sensitive information of dozens of his associates, he says, “We have no feelings; Our feelings have died because of all the people who have suffered from this condition. I don’t know how long it will take to bring them back.”
a new beginning in life
Unlike Mr Gul, Special Forces constable Mirza Jaan is glad he survived the violence and brutal economic downturn with a family of five. Their youngest child is one year old. Mr Jan says he is hopeful about the start of temporary classes in hotels, but the Home Office has not given any official guidance.
“We go out every day for a walk in the park and in the heart of the city,” he says, as the sound of aden (Islamic call for prayer) in the background momentarily takes him back to his country.
“We have more hopes and dreams for our children here. It’s a new beginning of life.”
Mr Khan’s child is recovering from the infection, and his wife, who is five months pregnant, has been able to visit the doctor after four weeks. An NHS number this week signals new hope for him and his unborn.
The Department of Work and Pensions has said it is launching surgeries nationwide, which are run by experienced work instructors along with translators.
Back at home, Mr Gul, along with Afghan Commando Force 333, was responsible for carrying out complex counter-terrorist operations alongside UK forces. Keen to serve for the British Army, he smiles and says, “We are well trained.”
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the soldiers and their families.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /