Arif Hussain Razayi

My name is Arif Hussain Razayi. I was born in Quetta, Pakistan, but I am originally from Afghanistan. I belong to Hazara community who has faced persecution, genocide, massacre and violence for more than a century.

While I was growing up, I witnessed and experienced tremendous persecution, violence, denial of basic human rights, massacre, genocide and statelessness at every stage of my life in Pakistan. For instance, I escaped a shooting on my religious procession in 2004 and survived a suicide car bombing in 2011 and 2013. In addition, a terrorist group attacked my workplace in 2016, in which my employer was shot dead. Luckily, I was not present at the time of attack. These all factors led me to leave Pakistan for Indonesia for good.

When I arrived in Indonesia in 2016, I had hoped that I would never live the horrible life again that I had in Pakistan. However, I found it otherwise. Indonesia being a non-signatory to the 1951 denied asylum seekers and refugees of education, work, freedom of movement and other basic human rights. This disappointed me of being hopeful for a safer place where I could exercise all my basic human rights – having an identity and not being stateless and where I could live a life that is not comprised of threat, shooting and persecution whenever I go out for work, education and other basic daily activities.

In 2020, I got aware of Canadian private refugee sponsorship program through some friends. I tried hard to avail this opportunity to move to Canada, but I found it profoundly challenging to find sponsors. Eventually, after many struggles I found GIFT Organization through Kalsoom – a refugee who was sponsored to Canada by GIFT Organization before me.

GIFT Organization embraced me and gave me the hope of a safer place. They submitted my sponsorship application and ultimately on June 16, 2022, I landed in Canada. Before flying to Canada, I got my confirmation of permanent residence at the airport in Indonesia, to which I burst with joy, hope and gratitude that finally I am out of this misery, disappointment and limbo.

After moving to Canada, GIFT organization helped me find an accommodation, get all my documents and open a bank account. Further, they have been supporting me emotionally, financially and physically since my arrival.

My life has changed after landing in Canada. I do not feel persecuted and threatened any more. I am no more stateless and now feel at home. I feel safe and free to go anywhere and can do anything that I want. For example, I can pursue higher education, fulfill my goals and dreams, support my family back home and helping others in need and under duress especially the refugees and asylum seekers.

Accordingly, I feel grateful, hopeful and happy for every day of life now in Canada and all the credit goes to GIFT Organization for holding my hand, rescuing me out of misery, limbo and disappointment, and giving me a new hope, future and life. I wholeheartedly appreciate their kindness, help, compassion and endeavors and hope that this series continues so that others like me get a better life, future and hope.

Thank you!