â€œI remember exactly the first time in my life when somebody made me feel like a real human being.
When we got to the Austrian border after 17 days of our exhausting journey, an old woman greeted us in such a nice way. She gave us clothes for our little daughter and new shoes for me because my old ones were worn and broken. Other people provided a meal for us and listened to our concerns. We hadnâ€™t even known that this country existed but the Austrians cared for us. We thought: Maybe our daughters can have a better future here.
I canâ€™t think of a single day of my former life when I wasnâ€™t stressed or scared. My father was killed by the government when I was ten years old. Being the oldest son, I had to start working to take care of my family two days after his death. My first job was at a bakery and instead of a salary, I got three loafs of bread in the evening. Sometimes I had to stay at work over night because walking home would have been too dangerous.
After Niloofar and I got married, we decided that Afghanistan wasnâ€™t a safe place to raise a family. So we went to Iran and stayed there for four years. But we didnâ€™t have any rights there â€“ no IDs, no documents, no school. In order to save money to come to Europe, I had to work illegally. Twice, the police caught me and sent me straight back to Afghanistan. They didnâ€™t allow me to say goodbye to Niloofar or even tell her what was happening. When I called her from the border two days later, she had been worried sick. But every time, I found a way to come back to her.
We have been living in Austria for a year now, and we would rather live in an Austrian refugee camp for our whole lives than anywhere in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. So many nice people have been helping us with our daily life. We want to thank them, especially Ghazaleh, Marthe, Karin and Edeltraud.â€
â€œOur daughter Donya got a place in an Austrian kindergarten. Weâ€™re so happy for this chance, but also a little bit worried. We are only learning German very slowly because it is very difficult for us and so weâ€™re not able to teach her. What if the teachers wonâ€™t understand when she is trying to tell them something? But Donya is a very happy and active child and hopefully she will learn the language fast. She already picked out her own little kindergarten bag and is looking forward to playing with the other children. We hope that she will be fine.â€
â€œWe wish for our children to lead a different life than we had to. They should never have to be afraid. Whenever they walk down a street, they should know that they are human beings and that they are worth just as much as everybody else around them.â€