CFIC recently received the following update from Omer, recounting his experiences over the past year as a refugee in Nepal. We have left his voice largely un-edited.
When I escaped Pakistan I had no idea there is still a long way to go and my struggles are not over yet. Government of Nepal does not recognize refugees — for them refugees are “illegal immigrants.” With no rights to work. A visitor can stay in Nepal on visitor visa for max five months and after that there will be $5/day overstay uncapped fine. So I had all these things in my mind but I was taking one step at a time.
After I got recognized as REFUGEE by the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission on Refugees) in Sept 2019 and applied for Canada PR (permanent residency) through Private Sponsorship Program, there was unspeakable uncertainty about “How will I survive my time here while my application is under process?” Because processing time can be as long as 24 to 30 months.
I am so grateful to CFIC for taking care my monthly expenses while I wait for my final interview and medical checkup. 2020 was a mixed kind of a year for me. I was overwhelmed and very excited that my PR application was approved by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) and my file was sent to Canadian Embassy in India for further Processing and it brought COVID-19 and lockdowns as well which were very painful, stressful, and of unspeakable losses.
But humanity survived and humanity prevailed, since now the vaccine is out hopefully we shall see the end of this pandemic very soon. I am glad I had books with me. I read Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari, Outgrowing God by Richard Dawkins, Mortality by Christopher Hitchens, and couple of dystopian novels such as 1984 by George Orwell and Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I think I would rate 1984 as the best book I read in a while.
After the lockdown I went for few hikes but since there was second wave of COVID already here I decided to stay home most of the time. I developed a new hobby and now I have few indoor plants:
I also started to practice archery at a nearby place — I go there once or twice a week.
2021 started with couple of great news: first, vaccine was announced, and second, good people of America voted Trump out. Trump’s anti-immigration policies directly affected the refugees in exile. Hopefully Biden administration will reverse these policies soon.
When I see the terrible condition of other refugees here, I feel more grateful to CFIC and if it was not for CFIC I don’t know how would I have make it this far, but my struggle is not over yet. I still have to wait for long to be interviewed, processed, and allowed to travel to Canada — it could take another year or more and I will be able to reach the country I will be able to call HOME.
Editor’s note: Through the generosity of our donors, CFIC has been able to support Omer for the past year. We initially brought you his story on January 21, 2020. CFIC and Omer continue to be grateful for the support you provide.
You can help by making a tax-deductible donation to CFIC’s Assistance for Apostates Fund. All donations to this are applied exclusively to Assistance for Apostates projects.
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