My name is Zahra Batool. I belong to the Shia Hazara ethnicity from Pakistan are constantly facing persecution and genocide in Pakistan. Many of my family members were killed and were forced to leave our country and to take refuge in another country.
I was a teacher back home, and as a single mother with two young kids, I decided to leave Pakistan and start living a peaceful life and went to Indonesia in 2015. We were safe in Indonesia but faced many other challenges. Both Adults and Kids were not allowed to work or go to school. I lived 7 years in Indonesia, during which I started volunteering and was elected as a Refugee representative in UNHCR. It was an unpaid position. While living in Indonesia I was concerned about the future of my daughter’s education.
In 2021, we were connected with Gift Organization, and I finally got hope to start a new life in Canada. When the Gift organization submitted my visa application, I was worried if I would be accepted or not. I remember when I received a call from IOM for a medical check-up. I felt a wave of relief wash over me as I received the news that our visa application had been approved. Tears welled up from my eyes and I hugged my daughters tightly, thanking Allah and the Gift Organization who had made this possible.
For years, I had lived in fear and uncertainty, fleeing from a war-torn homeland and seeking refuge in a foreign land. I had faced countless obstacles and challenges, including discrimination, poverty, and a constant fear of deportation. But now, with my visa in hand, I could finally start a new life in a safe and welcoming country. My daughters giggled with excitement at the thought of a new home, new friends, and a new school.
As I stepped off the plane and onto foreign soil, I finally took a deep breath, inhaling the sweet smell of freedom and opportunity. I knew that the road ahead would not be easy, but I was determined to make the most of this chance and create a better life for myself and my daughters. Gift Organization members welcomed me at the Airport and I lived for more than a week in their house (Mahbub Ali). They treated me like their daughter. Helped to get all the important documents that I would need in Canada(Bank Account, SIN number, Health card) and find me accommodation, and enrolled my daughters in school. Helped us to get a family doctor, my younger daughter’s eyesight is weak so they got new glasses for her. One of my daughters needed dental care and they helped me to find a good dentist and took us there.
I’m really thankful to Gift Organization as they supported me financially and emotionally. Got a job working as a teacher in a daycare. I’m living in Canada, it feels good to be independent.
Alhamdulillah for everything.