I met Aimen and Zara a year ago when I was helping an organisation that works to combat human trafficking and gender inequality in Nepal. I was mesmerised by their warmth and as I spent more time with them I learned about the brutal trauma that they had endured. Aimen and Zara are both 22 year-old refugees from Pakistan who had no choice but to flee to Nepal. Aimen and Zara became targets of persecution due to their sexuality and in standing up for their rights following horrific sexual violation. They spent 2 years hiding in women’s refuges, during which time Aimen fell pregnant from rape. Just before their escape from Pakistan, Aimen gave birth amidst a freezing winter while living in extreme poverty. The doctor failed to apply stitches after cutting Aimen to help deliver the baby, resulting in constant and chronic bleeding. Just two days after giving birth, while suffering not only from the poor procedure but also extreme malnourishment and fatigue, she was forced to do 8 hours of physical work in exchange for a place to sleep.
The night when Aimen collapsed from excess blood loss, her and Zara were kicked out of house where they worked due to Aimen´s inability to work sufficiently. It was the middle of a frozen Pakistani winter. They had no money, a new born baby with Aimen continuingly suffering from the birth. They spent three nights in a park wrapped in every piece of clothing they had, the baby wedged between them, praying for survival. The immediate death threat for Aimen and Zara was increasing with every day and they had lost hope. The child also did not have a birth certificate, as Pakistani law states that a man must sign off the birth. This meant the child could not leave the country to safety – technically, the child did not exist. They were seemingly helpless.
A Pakistani family with very little money saw their desperation and offered to look after Aimens baby until they could be granted protection. This was on the condition that Aimen would pay the baby’s expenses when they got to Nepal. They arrived only to discover that it was highly illegal to work in Nepal without papers, and on top of that there is a $5usd fine per person for each day they overstay their visa. After two years of unimaginable suffering and waiting in limbo they have been accepted into Canada, however, they have no way of paying the debt they have accumulated from the family taking care of Aimen´s child. If they are to be reunited they must first pay off this debt.
The only way I can help reunite Aimen and her child is to fundraise.
This is for any mother, father or human that can imagine what it would feel like to be separated from their child for two years and how it would feel to be uncertain about ever holding them in their arms again.
This is a plea for help from any man or woman that knows the horror of sexual violation and can imagine what it would be like to have your life threatened and to be forced to seek refuge merely because you stood up against a society that deeply favours men.
This is for the people who have the privilege of living a life free from such unimaginable traumas but a heart willing to help.
Anything is better than nothing and every single cent goes to helping two humans who have endured unbelievable hardship because of being born female, to live happy and safe lives with their child.
Let’s get Aimen and Zara to Canada with Aimen’s baby!
Please note that for the purpose of the campaign I have used different names to ensure confidentiality and protect the girls from further risk while in Nepal.
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