The Afghan community in Edmonton welcomes the arrival of refugees from a war-torn homeland.
Hamidullah Fidel and his family immigrated to Canada on January 11, 2022, after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Catholic Social Services reports that 674 Afghan refugees have relocated to Edmonton since then. Fidel’s family is among 172 Afghan refugees affiliated with the Afghan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO). Hamidullah Fidel observed the May 8, 2021, bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, that murdered 85 schoolgirls. He remembers hearing the first explosion and then seeing the second and third explosions at a school’s front door from his rooftop.
Girls in Afghanistan are not permitted to attend school under Taliban control. Fidel is pleased that his two daughters, ages eight and five, will get an education in Canada alongside his son. Families of both Fidel and Saramad identify as Hazaras, a Persian-speaking ethnic minority that the Taliban often target in Afghanistan.
When Taliban troops invaded Kabul, the 12th grade of Razia Saramad, sister of Razia, was disrupted. Her family entered Canada on January 11, 2022. In Edmonton, Kamran Alizada, age ten, is already making friends and experiencing two things he did not stay in Afghanistan: field trips and recess.
Fidel said that the classroom equipment is of good quality and that there is access to items unavailable in Afghanistan due to the country’s severe poverty. He enjoys all the disciplines they are presently studying, particularly music class.