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.
"I woke up in a dark room, where I was then tortured by the man with the explosives."
Journey to Indonesia
“Being in a new country, I was perplexed and scared because everything was strange to me.”
Life in Limbo
“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.”
In the Detention Centre
“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.”
“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.