One evening, a few weeks after the start of the autumn semester of the Afghan Empowerment Project (AEP), a little boy and a young girl arrived at the AEP project venue. The young girl introduced herself as the little boy’s aunt and asked the staff if the small boy, Matin*, could attend the computer and English classes.
She was told that the classes had already started and Matin could only be registered for the next semester. In response the boy looked hopelessly at his aunt and his aunt burst into tears.
Matin has a sad story. His family tried to immigrate to Europe from Iran, but at the Turkey-Iran border as all his family members crossed the border, small Matin was stopped. There was shooting at the border and guards chased Matin’s family. Matin was terrified, he hid and lost his family.
He made his way back to Tehran enduring long hours of walking, very cold weather, hunger and other dangers. After returning to Tehran, he found his aunt’s house. His aunt wanted him to go to school again, but the schools nearby were unable to register him. Matin was depressed. He needed to be involved in something to help him deal with the trauma he had endured.
The staff decided to register Matin in the middle of the term and they involved him in every outdoor event and indoor activity. They asked the teachers to take his special situation into consideration.
The AEP staff enabled Matin to finally talk to his family in Europe and gave him hope that one day he might be reunited with them. They told him that there was a possibility that the UNHCR could get him to his family if they were accepted as refugees in Europe.
They communicated Matin’s situation to the school near his aunt’s house and worked with the school’s supervisor to register him at school.
A short while later, Matin stepped into the AEP project venue with a beautiful smile on his little face. His smiles have been truly rewarding to all the AEP staff!
* Name and photo have been changed