Four siblings who lost their parents during the war America waged against Afghanistan followed by 9/11 attacks, came together years later in an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan.
Two Afghan brothers who started to live with an Afghan they consider uncle, were sent to MSAL Orphanage of the Khubaib Foundation in 2003. Meanwhile their two sisters continued to live in the camp.
On the other hand, following the earthquake in Muzaffarabad in 2005 Bülent Yıldırım, the president of IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation visited the Afghan refugee camp accompanied by the president of Khubaib Foundation, Nedim Ahmed Khan. They decided to visit the Afghan sisters’ family as they knew their two brothers Hamid (14) and Feyzullah (13) are staying in the foundation’s orphanage. After finding Sharifa (12) among many other young children in the camp, Yıldırım and Khan got curious about the other sister. When Yıldırım found out that the sister was married off by the so-called uncle in return of bride price, he got very upset. He asked the head of the partner foundation to make sure that little Sharifa would not be condemned to marriage at an early age like her elder sister. Then, president of the foundation Khan starts to negotiate with the so-called uncle, in order to get Sharif into the school. Thus the new home of little Sharifa became
"I did not know that day my fate was going to change.”
Sharifa, who got together with her brothers in the orphanage, gets emotional when talking about those days.
She says life in the camp is so difficult and she had hard times after her sister was married off following his brothers going to the orphanage. She notes that she had to share the same house with many kids. There were many days that they could not find hot plate, she adds. Under these circumstances, two men she did not know showed up in the camp. She continues:
'That day I did not know my fate was going to change'. Uncle Nedim Ahmed Khan and Uncle Bülent Yıldırım changed the colour of my life. They brought me to an unknown paradise ‘MSAL Orphanage’. There is a hot plate and a safe home here. More important than anything my brothers are here. After I started to stay here everything got so easy. Now I am studying at high school. I will graduate from college and choose an occupation with which I can help people.”
''A new life started both for Sharifa and other sibling”
The president of Khubaib Foundation said that post 9/11 attacks many Afghan refugees came to Pakistan. Pointing out that there are about 1 million orphaned kids in Pakistan currently, Khan said that they started a project for the orphans which are the most important problem in the country. The Foundation’s first orphanage MSAL Orphanage gives education to hundreds of kids and the story of Hamid, Feyzullah and Sharifa is just one of them.
Khan noted that the first guests of the MSAL Orphanage coming from the Afghan refugee camp were Hamid and Feyzullah brothers and he continued:
''Indeed, it was hard times. They had a difficult time to adapt. Although he served them hot food they continued to eat only bread they dipped in water. It continued like that for a long while. Then they started to get used to the orphanage and things started to get easier. In order to stop them from developing inferiority complex we were giving them presents to hand out to the kids in the refugee camp when they went to visit their sisters. Through this practice they started to have self-confidence.
Khan explained how they decided to visit the family of Hamid and Feyzullah when they went to the refugee camp with the head of IHH, Mr Yıldırım and how they found only Sharifa in the house and that they learned the other sister was married off for the bride price. He added that Yıldırım was extremely upset by the news. “He turned to me and said ‘We have to rescue Sharifa from here’. After long negotiations with the so-called uncle we agreed to take Sharifa to the orphanage. Now a new life started for both Sharifa and her brothers” he said.
They met their married sister there.
Nedim Ahmed Khan said that they sent the three siblings to Afghanistan so that they can get themselves IDs. There the siblings found their real uncle with the help of a friend of their late father. Khan added that they keep working on to get the siblings Afghan IDs and during the process they met their married sister. Khan also said that during their trip to Afghanistan the siblings found out that their late father was a wealthy man. “Their uncle told his nephews ‘you can come and take over your estates whenever you want.’ This is an incredible story,” he said.
Khan said that four siblings had inherited a big wealth from their father. “They are receiving invitations from their villages and they sometimes go visit their places,” he added.