Refugee family arrives in British Columbia with help from volunteers – BC

A family who fled the Taliban in Afghanistan has arrived in British Columbia with the help of caring volunteers on Vancouver Island.

Michelle Downey, leader of the Campbell River volunteer team, told Global News that seven of the 10 members of the Ahmadi family eventually arrived in Comox.

“For two years, we have been working to (bring) the family (here). They are hiding from the Taliban,” Downey said.

“The family was literally hunted by the Taliban. We brought them into Pakistan and helped them stay hidden.

“We are beyond disbelief the family is finally here.”

Gul Ahmadi, his wife and their five young daughters arrived safely in British Columbia on Saturday.

The head of the Ahmadi family was reportedly killed by the Taliban after refusing to hand over his daughter in marriage in 2021. Since then, the Ahmadi family has been constantly on the move, moving from place to place in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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Gul took over as head of the family when her father was killed.

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Thanks to Downey, a support group was quickly organized to get the family into Canada and out of harm’s way.

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This involved, in part, raising over $69,000 in accordance with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada requirements. The group also provided financial assistance to enable the family to support themselves while they were unable to work.

Gul’s sister, mother and brother are also expected to arrive next week.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am,” Downey said. “It’s been miracle after miracle.”

Downey said the difficult process of recovery and dealing with trauma will come next.

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“We’re concerned about so many years of severe PTSD and trauma…so we still have a lot ahead of us,” Downey said.

Sayed Ahmadi, Gul’s older brother who lives in California, was also in Comox to welcome his family members.

“I’m super happy… There’s been a lot of support,” he said.

“(They) were in a bad situation… they saved (their) lives.”

Sayed said there was no better feeling than seeing his family members arrive safely.

“It’s freedom…it’s freedom.”

The family will live in Campbell River and benefit from the support of their group of volunteers forever.

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