This story is largely told in Khatera’s own words. Her husband was very violent with her and with their 18-year old daughter, regularly sexually abusing her. The daughter shared this with her mother, but when Khatera tried to confront her husband, he would only grow angry and violent towards her.
Khatera sought help from other relatives (her father and brothers) but no one was willing to help because her husband is a powerful, well-connected person. At one point, she fled the home with her daughter, but her husband threatened to murder their 10-year-old son if she didn’t come back. She was then referred to Hagar. This is Khatera’s story.
“My children and I lived in TCC for nearly three years. We felt very safe there and for the first time in our lives we lived in a calm environment. We had never lived without fear. At TCC we could finally have some of the things which other people who live in the community have.”
“The counselling sessions changed our lives. We were traumatized, we had fear, we were pessimistic about others and trusted no one, we had many doubts, we were tired, we were even afraid in our dreams, but after we had counselling day by day we became relaxed and our fear decreased. My son has a chronic disease and TCC regularly sent him for treatment and gave him the medicine he needed.”
“We were not able to leave the center because of our situation, but that did not matter as we received everything we needed inside. I attended literacy classes and I can now read and write in Dari. My daughter and son have been able to study the government school curriculum plus English and computer studies whilst inside the center. My daughter has studied up to 10th grade and my son studied 5th grade with the TCC teacher. I have been given the opportunity to sew clothes, and in this way, I have been able to earn an income. The staff found a lot of work for me and I now know that I will be able to support myself and my children. My daughter has also learned to sew since we have been here, and she now has some handicraft skills and will also be able to make an income. We also received legal training and we were taught about our rights, so now we feel strong in ourselves and believe that we can defeat our problems instead of escaping them.”
From when Khatera and her children arrived at Hagar, Hagar’s staff were actively seeking reintegration possibilities for further down the line. Khatera’s husband and his family actively looking for her, and this placed her in serious danger if she had been found anywhere within the bounds of the Afghan borders. Hagar’s staff in Afghanistan decided that the best course of action for Khatera and her children would be to leave the country. The first step for Hagar’s staff was to get the family’s identity documents organized, and then they began to investigate various countries where they Khatera and her children could seek asylum or find a safe place. Hagar’s staff tried two different countries but failed to get the visas and legal documents needed. On the third try, Hagar’s staff found a country willing to accept Khatera and her children. They organized visas and established contacts close to where Khatera and her children would move to ensure that they would be safe and well supported while they settled in. Hagar’s staff travelled with the family across the border.
Khatera is now living independently in a new country, and her children are happy and settled. Khatera is described by Hagar staff as capable and skilled, and they are deeply confident in her ability to make a new life for herself.
Khatera says, “We are so happy that we cannot begin to explain our happiness. There have been so many changes in ourselves and in our lives since we came to Hagar. It is as if we have found a second life. We had very bad experiences before we came here and we hope that nothing bad will ever happen again.”
Her son says, “Now I am very happy that I will leave Afghanistan and go to another country. I will live without fear, go to school, and join a football team.”