Fighting for Democracy

Hekmatullah Safari

Name: Hekmatullah Safari

Profile: Hazara refugee from Afghanistan, living in Indonesia since 2014.

Advantages: UN-certified, good English skills, FULLY FUNDED.

Risk: At risk of being tortured and killed by the Taliban if returned home.

Canadian contact: Stephen Watt

After volunteering in the presidential election campaign 2014 in Afghanistan, Hekmatullah was now considered an enemy the Taliban. He was abducted by the Taliban on the way from Jaghori to Kabul. With his life in danger, he succeeded in escaping their clutches. He fled from Afghanistan to Indonesia in 2014.

Despite living for more than 3 years inside a detention centre, he did not stop learning, reading books and exercising. He hopes now to find five Canadian friends who can bring him to Canada where he can pursue his education, live peacefully and support his family.

Supporting Democracy

Hekmatullah Safari was born in 1997 in a village of the Jaghori district in Ghazni province in Afghanistan. The Hazara people of the region have long been targets of persecution and massacres because of their culture, religion, and love for education. Hekmatullah was a student at Anguri High School in his village, and he was also teaching children at primary school. During the presidential election in 2014, Hekmatullah volunteered in distributing and advertising photos of one of the presidential candidates.

Abducted for His Activism

During the election, his mother grew sick and needed to go to to Kabul for treatment. Hekmatullah accompanied her on the trip. While on his way to Kabul on March 25, 2014, the Taliban stopped their car and took Hekmatullah and another Hazara man with them.

“Someone had already reported the Taliban about my volunteer work in the election campaign. The Taliban tied up our hands, blindfolded us and took us to an unknown place.”

His mother was left behind - her son abducted - wondering if he would survive. After staying in a dark room for two days, Hekmatullah and the other Hazara man decided to escape from there. They untied each other’s hands and escaped through a small window of that room that night. After running for some hours, he reached a road from where he went to Kabul by car.

Fleeing to Indonesia

From Kabul, he contacted his family and told them everything. His mother was relived he lived. She wanted her son to be safe and insisted he find a way to escape Afghanistan and the Taliban. Neighbors and friends arranged for a smuggler, and on March 30, 2014 Hekmatullah flew to New Delhi, India where he stayed for a month. Then he flew to Malaysia and stayed there for 10 days. Finally, he arrived in Indonesia on May 17, 2014 by boat.

Life in Limbo

On May 18, 2014, he registered himself at the UNHCR office. With no right to work or way to support himself in the new country, he made his way to Makassar Immigration Centre to ask for assistance. On July 5, 2014 he was transferred to a detention centre in Makassar. The centre was overcrowded, with not enough food or room. They treated refugees like criminals. He started learning English and Indonesian languages. He also put his time into learning computer programs, playing volleyball and exercising.

After living in the detention centre for more than 3 years, he received his freedom and was transferred to a community house in Makassar city on October 13, 2017.

“Living as a refugee is very challenging, I had been going through a lot of pain, but during this whole time, I didn't stop learning and doing positive activities. Also, I have read many books.”

You Can Help!

As a UNHCR refugee, Hekmatullah is eligible for Canada’s private sponsorship program. He needs a group of five Canadian friends to support him.

“I am living with uncertainty and having no right to work and study for many years and it is being so painful. I hope to find some friends who can take my hand and help me live my life with full freedom.”

To help support Hekmatullah as a sponsor, please contact Stephen Watt on Facebook.

You can also reach out to Hekmatullah directly on Facebook.

Reach out and discover how wonderful it is to privately sponsor a good person to start a new life – with your help – in Canada!