When Farzad arrived in Australia he had faced more persecution than most could bear: not only was he from the minority Hazara ethnic group, and a Shia Muslim in his majority Sunni homeland of Afghanistan, he was also a policeman, a profession that attracted numerous threats against his life.
Farzad fled with his family to the northern Pakistani city of Quetta, where well over two million registered and unregistered Afghani refugees live. But even here, violence was never far away: members of the Hazara community who have sought refuge here are under constant threat from bomb blasts and other targeted attacks, with women and children at highest risk.
Eventually Farzad made it to Australia, where JRS took him under its wing. But although he is now physically safe, the scars of persecution run deep.
“He’s suffering from post traumatic stress and depression,” says JRS Project Coordinator Louise Stack. “His extended family is still living amidst the violence of Quetta. Even though he’s been given a chance to have a new life here, it’s really no life at all.”
As part of its pastoral role JRS has referred Farzad to mental health services, and has helped him to enrol in English courses at TAFE. He’s desperate to make a new life for himself, and hopes to one day serve Australia by returning to his job as police officer.
JRS supports Farzad, and many others like him. With your help, we can continue to make a difference in their lives.