Who they are: Nur Azizah, Naqibullah Amani, and Saqib Sarshar
Profile: Stateless / Rohingya (in the case of Azizah) and Afghani
Current location: Makassar, Indonesia – since 2011
Risk of returning: Death and torture / No country to return to
Need: $26,700 CAD or $29,437 AUD as required for a family of three
The opportunity: Private refugee sponsorship to Canada
Advantages: Fluent in English, UNHCR certified
Born in Malaysia and Rohingyan through her father, Nur Azizah has been stateless since birth. A diligent and inspiring young woman, she once dreamed of becoming a teacher or a lawyer, and inspiring other refugee children, especially girls, to achieve their full potential. Sadly, she has been denied her right to education both in Malaysia and in Indonesia. Instead of getting a formal education, she studied for years in makeshift refugee-run schools.
In 2011, feeling despair over the lack of opportunity in Malaysia, her father decided to take the family to a better life in Australia. Their first stop was in Indonesia, where officials intercepted them and put them in refugee detention. They have been stuck in Makassar, Indonesia, an hour’s flight from Bali, ever since.
"I was born as a refugee, and still living as a refugee for (the) entire of my life. I’m not hoping too much, but I trust that God will do something for me…” - Nur Azizah
A Romeo and Juliet Romance:
Azizah found true happiness for the first time in 2018, when she found the love of her life, Naqibullah. They met during a refugee protest in Makassar and were wed in the same year. Naqibullah is Shia minority of Afghani, a group that - like the Rohingya - are the target of a state-wide and Taliban's persecution, in his case, back in Afghanistan. Both communities are tight knit and defensive, and Naqibullah and Azizah have taken a great risk in crossing the communal divide.
They have faced discrimination and outright rejection from their communities - at one point having to stay apart for months during a flare up of tension within their refugee groups. Despite the odds, their love persists, and for the first time in Azizah’s life, she has found someone that she can fully trust and rely on during the toughest times. And now having a child of their own, it's even more important for them to provide a better future for their lives so that Azizah and Saqib (their son) can end their statelessness as well.
Stuck in limbo
It is no life for a young couple. Azizah and Naqibullah survive on the AUD $125 they receive individually from the IOM (International Organization for Migration). These monthly stipends are as part of Australia's regional cooperation with Indonesia to prevent Asylum Seekers and refugees coming by boat to Australia . Although they are recognized as refugees by the UNHCR, they are still considered illegal immigrants in Indonesia, without human rights such as work rights, education rights or freedom of movement. At this current stage, they will be forever be stateless, as will their children. With a baby on the way, Azizah and Naqibullah are feeling more pressure than ever to find an escape from their current state of limbo. They want better for themselves, for their family. No child should have to be born into such circumstances, into a lifetime of uncertainty.
The world has failed them, like many vulnerable refugees. Together, we can right a wrong and give Azizah and Naqibullah a second chance. A group of private citizens in Toronto – led by Stephen Watt - have teamed up to bring Azizah and family to a better life.
The fact that Azizah and Naqibullah have UNHCR cards is a huge advantage, because it means they are eligible for Canada’s private sponsorship program. Under the PSR program, there must be enough money to cover the family’s rent and living expenses for one year. The total set by Canadian immigration is $26,700 CAD.
That amount includes: 12 months of income ($20,400) for:
· Shelter: $10,632
· Food staples: $195
· Startup costs: $6,300
· Household needs: $350
· Furniture: $2,016
· Clothing: $1,033
As soon as this money is collected, it will be held in a secure bank account managed by Community Matters Toronto , a registered charity that will also serve as the family’s official sponsor. When they arrive, the money will be disbursed under guidelines laid out by the Canadian government.
Please help! We are building a team of sponsors to bring Azizah and family to Canada. If you would like to join, please contact Stephen Watt on Facebook.
To contact Azizah personally, please get the contact via Alfred Pek , the Australian-Indonesian filmmaker who first brought Azizah’s story as a relentlessly outspoken woman standing for refugee rights in Makassar to public attention through his upcoming documentary, appropriately titled “Freedom Street ”, the name of the street where many refugees live in Makassar.
You can also find previous stories about Azizah here . Azizah and her family would make a wonderful addition to Canada. Please, if you’ve ever wanted to change a person’s life forever and for the better, consider bringing Azizah and family to finally have a place to call home in Canada. Thank you for your support. And help those who are in need!
- Katharine Van der Veen
- Rebecca Reeve
- Nina Burridge
- Stephen Watt
Fundraising team: Freedom Street Team (2)
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