‘He is liable to being focused’: Afghan refugee elevating cash to assist deliver brother to Saskatoon

Kamila Jamili has called Saskatoon home after being sponsored and arriving in the city during the summer after fleeing Afghanistan due to the Taliban.

While she has friends, a roof over her head, and is slowly adjusting to her new life, there’s one important person who is missing, her younger 18-year-old brother Ali.

“The first time I arrived here, the first two weeks I was happy. I came to a new country and can have a good life for myself,” Jamili told CTV News.

“And then, one month passed of my time here, I feel a little bit (homesick). I miss my home country and my family.”

Most of Jamili’s family is still in Kabul where they are at risk of being targeted by the Taliban because of their Shia religion and Hazara ethnicity. In October 2021, Ali managed to escape but still isn’t safe.

Ali also faces additional risks because of his martial arts; he has a black belt in tae kwon do. The Taliban has forbidden martial arts and has even bombed gyms like his in neighbourhoods close by.

“Her brother made a lot of sense to be the one we brought first because he’s alone and he’s at risk in a country with no legal standing and he’s at risk of being targeted,” said Nathalie Baudais, who is with Climate Justice Saskatoon, the group who sponsored Jamili.

Before leaving Afghanistan, Jamili was studying environmental engineering. Climate Justice Saskatoon sponsored her and is now trying to help reunite the siblings.

It’s hoping to raise $22,500 to help cover Ali’s living costs for his first year in Canada.

“It’s one of the requirements to prove that we have the money to support him when he arrives, so that’s one of the very first steps,” Baudais said.

Jamili and her brother aren’t the only people seeking safety from the Middle East. According to the federal government, more than 22,000 Afghan refugees have arrived in Canada since August 2021.

“I can’t have all my family with myself here, it takes time and it’s a process. For now, we want to have my brother here.”

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