Name: Sharif Naoruzi

Profile: Hazara refugee from Afghanistan, living in Indonesia.

Advantages: UN Certified, good English skills, experienced as a volunteer teacher, enthusiastic to get proper education, FULL FUNDING for his refugee sponsorship to Canadaa

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

Canadian contacts: Stephen Watt and Mona Elshayal

Needed: Five people to serve as private sponsors in Canada

At the age of 13, Sharif’s father was abducted by gunmen on the way to work, and never returned home. As a child, Sharif did his best to take care of his mother and siblings. By by the age of 18, he, too, was threatened by the Taliban and forced to leave his country. He fled to Indonesia by boat in 2014.

Despite living in a detention centre for nearly three years, far from his family, he didn’t lose hope. He used his time to study English and help other refugees as a translator. His hope now is to find five Canadian friends who can help him start his life again in Canada.

His Story

Sharif Naoruzi was born in January 1996, in a village of the Jaghori district in Ghazni province in Afghanistan. As a child, he had a happy life and hoped to study and become a businessman.

But his life changed after his father was abducted on the way to work, and never returned home. Since his father was the only supporter in his family, Sharif left his school and took a job in a motorcycle selling shop. From an early age, he was responsible for keeping his family out of poverty.

Unfortunately, by late 2014, he, too, had attracted the attention of the Taliban. He was attacked in public after refusing to sell explosives for a man who was a Taliban agent. Struck on the head while writing his motorcycle, he was knocked unconscious and abducted.

"I woke up in a dark room, where I was then tortured by the man with the explosives."

Only when the police intervened was he set free. But he now had a target on his back. He was no longer safe in his country.

Journey to Indonesia

On October 19, 2014 he flew from Kabul to New Delhi, India and stayed there for a few days. He flew to Malaysia on October 26, and on October 29, he arrived in Indonesia after a dangerous boat journey. A further three day car journey took him from Medan to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. It was the first time he had set foot out of Afghanistan. As he says,

“Being in a new country, I was perplexed and scared because everything was strange to me.”

Life in Limbo

On November 4, 2014 he registered himself at the UNHCR office and moved to Cisarua, Bogor. After a few days, some local people stopped him on the road and robbed him. With no money for rent or food, he presented himself to the immigration office of Manado on November 17, 2014. It was not a welcoming reception:

“There were other refugees and they didn’t greet me and other newcomers. It was disappointing, but later I came to know that they were afraid of being accused by the security guards of inviting us there.”

After three months of living under the open sky, under the hot sun and heavy rains, Sharif and some other refugees were finally placed in a house run by the IOM (the International Organization for Migration). Inside the house, each room was filled with 10 to 13 refugees. Living in tight quarters without proper medical care, many became sick with ailments such as allergies, appendicitis and conjunctivitis.

Itchy rashes covered my body, which was both unbearable and scary. I couldn’t go to the doctor because I couldn’t speak Indonesian or the English language.”

Realizing he needed to empower himself, Sharif decided to learn languages. His studies had begun.

His troubles were not over yet, however.

In the Detention Centre

After sixteen months, on March 3, 2016 he was transferred to the Immigration Detention Centre in Makassar. The detention centre was over-crowded and badly ventilated, and the residents were kept prisoner, trapped inside a building without proper food, water and proper medical care.

Sharif was desperate at first, but soon realized his suffering was pointless if he did not improve himself. With great discipline, he returned to his English studies. He also found voluntary teachers to teach him math, biology, physics and chemistry.

“I knew if I didn’t have regular activities, I would be depressed. In my free time, I read books that focused on motivation and psychology, and exercised regularly to keep myself mentally and physically healthy.”

After two years, Sharif was interviewed by the UNHCR, and he received his refugee status in 2018. He thought that the dark days in his life coming to an end.


After living in the detention centre for 30 months, Sharif received his freedom and was transferred to a community house in Makassar.

“Even though it wasn’t a real freedom, but I was so happy because I could finally breathe the fresh air. And I could start to replace my clothes, which were now in tatters."

His Life Now

Sharif continued his education at Elites’ School, established by and for refugees, who are officially not allowed in the education system of Indonesia. The school’s atmosphere is positive and uplifting, helping refugees like Sharif temporarily forget their depression and stress.

“I have learned from our school to be strong and cope with challenges in the face of the toughest conditions.”

Since January 2020, Sharif has been volunteering at the school as an English teacher and he loves to help others. He dreams of continuing his study in a safe country without any fear, discrimination, injustice and persecution.

The opportunity

It’s possible. Since Sharif is officially certified as a refugee by the UNHCR – unlike the vast majority of the world’s refugees – he qualifies for Canada’s private sponsorship program.

He has also one other major advantage. A friend of Sharif's, who works for the World Bank, has agreed to cover the costs of his first year in Canada. These funds will be placed in a trust account as part of the requirements for his application to come to Canada.

All he needs now are sponsors, five caring Canadians who live in the same community, and can commit to helping Sharif navigate his first year in the country.

If you would like to sponsor Sharif– or if you’re just interested in helping to bring him here – please contact his friend Stephen Watt.

You can also reach out to Sharif directly on Facebook or by email.

The bottom line

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