Help us Sponsor Nasir, Forced to Flee Iran for Converting to Christianity
Current Location: Papua New Guinea — for over 6 years
Risk of returning: Arrest, torture, death
Needs: Private sponsorship to Canada, including CAD $17,000 in fundraising
After witnessing his commanding officer torture civilians, Nasir reported the incident to the authorities in Iran. Instead of acting on the report, they imprisoned and tortured Nasir himself. After his release, Nasir faced continued threats and harassment from authorities, which intensified after he converted to Christianity, forcing him to leave his family and friends, and flee his beloved home.
Nasir tried to make it to Australia, having been told Christians were treated fairly and refugees were welcomed — instead, he was caught in a sudden refugee policy change and has been detained by the Australian Government in horrific conditions on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for six years.
Nasir is being held in indefinite detention, stranded without hope in immigration limbo — even though he has been assessed as a valid refugee. The conditions on Manus are unbearable: the United Nations has determined that the situation is dangerous, and the physical and mental health of the men detained there is deteriorating rapidly, with ongoing violence and daily incidents of self-harm common.
Now, we have a chance to set him free! To support his application to Canada, the government requires our non-profit partner, Community Matters, to hold $17,000 in trust for Nasir to support his first year of resettlement.
Please contribute today so we can lodge his application and give Nasir the chance to build a new life in Canada — he’s waited long enough!
*Nasir’s name has been changed to protect his safety and his family’s safety.
The Poet of Manus Island
Despite six years of living in a hell on earth — Manus — Nasir has refused to give in to the worst impulses of hate and despair. He takes refuge in his Christian faith and somehow manages to maintain a compassionate heart. Nasir is also a talented poet who uses his powerful and heart-breaking words to speak out against injustice. Even from within detention he has succeeded in sharing his poems with the world, using his phone to send them to friends in Australia.
Landing here I finally thought
I’d found security.
I submitted my tired body to you
so that you might give it rest.
I didn't know that you would give me
sorrow instead of happiness
and moans instead of song.
That you’d turn my laughter to tears
and dreams to fears.
I don’t want to live in this torture cage any longer!
Instead of granting my wish, you’ve trapped me in this.
A New Start
We need to get Nasir to a new country where he can be safe and free. We want to bring him to Canada under the government’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees program. We already have our sponsors in place, but before we can submit his application, we need to confirm to the Canadian government that we have funds to support Nasir's first 12 months of life in Canada (CAD$17,000).
Your donation will contribute to Nasir's living expenses for the first year, including:
+ 12 months of income
+ food staples
+ startup costs
+ household needs
Every dollar we raise (minus any fees collected by GoFundMe) will be held in trust by Community Matters Toronto and go directly towards Nasir's support. When he arrives in Canada, the funds will be disbursed to him immediately, as per the guidelines established by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Who Are We?
We are part of a group of committed volunteers, backed by non-profit partners Ads-Up and Community Matters, who are ready and excited to help Nasir start a new life. Our circle includes Canadians Sue Cox, Loris Aro, Stephen Watt and Laura Beth Bugg, and Australians Marcus Raty, Rose Ertler and Michele Seminara.
We Need Your Help
Please help us bring Nasir here today! Just click on the "Donate" button. And spread the word by sharing this post!
Every dollar moves us one step closer to bringing this gentle poet to live peacefully in the country he wishes to call home.
Thank you for your support.
- Geraldine Moore
- Ashlee Pirzadeh
- Lies Paijmans
- Madeleine Dow
- Natalie Damjanovich-Napoleon