Name: Murtaza Mohseni
Profile: Hazara refugee from Afghanistan, living in Indonesia.
Advantages: UN-certified, Excellent English skills, Educated, Experienced as a volunteer teacher. FULL FUNDING.
Risk: At risk of being killed by the Taliban if returned home.
Canadian contact: Stephen Watt
Needed: A group of five friends to sponsor him.
After Murtaza was deported from Iran back to Afghanistan in 2013, he became a driver. While driving from Ghazni to Jaghori, he was stopped by the Taliban where his passengers quarreled with them, then he escaped to Jaghori and then to Kabul. From there he fled to Indonesia by boat in 2014.
While living in limbo since then, Murtaza has been volunteering in teaching the English language to refugees. His hope now is to find five Canadian friends who can help him start his life again.
Murtaza was born in 1993 in Ghazni province in Afghanistan. After the Taliban seized power of Afghanistan in 1997 and began to target the Hazara minority through mass kidnappings, murders and assaults, Murtaza’s family fled to Pakistan. The Taliban’s reach soon extended to Pakistan, and Murtaza’s family was forced to flee again, this time to Iran.
His Life in Iran
Although safe from the Taliban, life as an asylum seeker in Iran was difficult. Murtaza could not attend formal schools, nor work as he got older. He was beaten by police and discriminated against. His father nevertheless encouraged him to pursue his education. He enrolled Murtaza in a private school for Afghanis. Murtaza loved learning, especially English. He excelled at school and completed his Year 12 diploma.
Deported to Afghanistan
Not long after Murtaza graduated, he was deported from Iran in one of the regular purges against refugees. He was separated from his family and forcibly returned to Afghanistan in 2013.
Back in Ghazni, 17 years after his family had fled, Murtaza found work as a driver. The Taliban were still active in the area, particularly against the Hazara population. Murtaza soon became accustomed to living in fear. Being regularly stopped at the Taliban’s checkpoints was a part of his job. Until one day everything changed, again.
The day that changed his life
While coming back from Ghazni to Jaghuri, the Taliban stopped Murtaza and searched him, then they began searching the passengers.
"Suddenly, there were gunshots, shouting and screaming. I was scared and shocked. Everything happened so fast, and my passengers captured one member of the Taliban. When we got to a safe zone, they took him to another car and they drove off. I was shaking and didn't know what to do."
He went to Jaghori where he told people about what had happened. The other drivers told him that the Taliban would come for him. So, he escaped to Kabul.
Journey to Indonesia
In Kabul, he arranged for a people smuggler, and in October 2014, he flew to New Delhi, India, then to Malaysia, and finally, he arrived in Indonesia by boat in November 2014, then he registered himself at the UNHCR office on November 11.