Fariba and her 22-year old daughter Shaghayegh have been living stateless in Indonesia for seven years – forced out of their home country for practising the Bahai faith. They can never return to Iran, and their situation as refugees in Indonesia is bleak. We can help.

Amir Sahragard who was imprisoned on Manus for 6.5 years met Fari and Shah in Indonesia 2013 on his way to Australia. They were to be on the same boat to Australia but fate separated them. Amir is paying it forward to sponsor and fundraise to bring them to Canada.

Names: Fariba and Shaghayegh
Profile: Iranian mother and daughter living stateless in Indonesia
Advantages: UNHCR certified, strong English, educated humanitarians
Risk: Detainment and death in Iran, detainment and poverty in Indonesia
Fundraiser: $33,000 to sponsor Fariba and Shaghayegh
The opportunity: Private sponsorship to Canada


On the Run

After her husband left her, Fariba did her best to create a happy family life for herself and her two children, her son, and daughter Shaghayegh. The children went to school, the mom pursued a twin career in sales and as a professional swimming instructor. They were a normal family in most respects.

Except one: they practised the Bahai faith – considered a heretical sect in their country. According to national law, citizens are only permitted to be Shia Muslims, and practising any other religion (including Bahai and Christianity) is punishable by death.

When the government found out about their faith, the family had to flee the country for their lives. The first to escape was Fariba's son, who was 16 years old at the time. He travelled to Indonesia then on to Australia by boat in 2011.

There he was captured and placed in detention, first off shore of Australia, and then in Sydney. He remains in detention today. He misses his mom and sister, and suffers from depression, with no way back or forward.

Fariba and Shaghayegh. then just 14 years old, left the country soon after. They travelled to Indonesia, with the hope of reuniting with Fariba's son and Shah's brother, but that hope was quickly dashed after Australia stopped accepting refugee arrivals by sea.

Current Challenges

Since 2013, Fariba and Shaghayegh have been stranded in Indonesia, in a life in limbo.

They are forbidden by law to work, study, drive, marry, travel or to even hold a bank account. Without these basic fundamental rights it is impossible for them to live a normal life.

Staying in Indonesia means a constant struggle to survive, excluded from all aspects of regular life. Going back to Iran means prison, possible torture and death. They are desperate to find a home and live a normal life.

How you can help

They have one hope, and this is it: A group of five Canadians will sponsor their application and support them in making a new life in Canada.

Good news: both women are officially certified as refugees by the UNHCR, which means they qualify for Canada’s private sponsorship program.

We just need the funds to make it happen. The total set by Canadian immigration for two adults (Shaghayegh is 22) is $16,500 each, or $33,000. That amount includes:

  • 12 months of income ($26,400) for:

  • Shelter: $14,016

  • Food staples: $210

  • Startup costs: $6,600

  • Household needs: $600

  • Furniture: $2,170

  • Clothing: $770

As soon as this money is collected, it will be held in a secure bank account co-managed by members of the sponsorship team. When Fariba and Shaghayegh arrive, the money will be disbursed under guidelines laid out by the Canadian government.

The Opportunity

Fariba is eager to return to work, and to her passion of coaching and mentoring young athletes. Shaghayegh's greatest hope is to continue her education, abruptly cut short when she was 14 years old. She was once an accomplished swimmer, winner of many competitions.

They are both hard working, conscientious women who are highly motivated to succeed in a country – they just need a chance.

A wonderful private sponsor group is coalescing. If you are interested in joining our team of sponsors, please contact Amir Sahragard, Stephen Watt or Carole Ito

Our focus now is to achieve our fundraising goal, in order to take the next step to bring Fariba and her daughter to a safer, more productive life. If you can help financially, please visit our fundraising page

Thank you for your support. And help spread the word by sharing this post!