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.

Life in Limbo

Murtaza has been living in limbo for more than 6 years. The UNHCR has advised the refugee community that it is highly unlikely they will ever be resettled. Yet, Murtaza is a UNHCR recognized refugee: he has nowhere to go. Just like in Iran, he cannot study or work. Nevertheless, he tries to be active and stay positive. He has been a volunteer English teacher at the Refugee Learning Centre since 2014. He helps refugees as in his words,

“I had difficulties going to school in Iran, so I understand the frustration of people in here as well. When I was a child, I wanted to participate in classes, but I wasn’t allowed. So, I want to help children so that they should never experience that.”

Murtaza is a patient and caring teacher, and a supportive friend to many refugees in Indonesia who can no longer cope with life in limbo.

Now Murtaza Needs our Help

Just as Murtaza is helping others, he needs help himself. Murtaza has been a refugee since he was three years old. He has lived in Pakistan, Iran, and now Indonesia as a refugee, all because of ethnic persecution. With the Taliban again gaining influence in Afghanistan, his home country is as dangerous as ever for Hazaras. Luckily, Murtaza has a supportive brother living in Australia. His brother cannot sponsor him to go to Australia because of Australian immigration rules, but he is willing to pay for sponsorships costs to finally set Murtaza free.

The Opportunity

As a UNHCR refugee, Murtaza Mohseni is eligible for Canada’s private sponsorship program. He needs a group of five Canadian friends to support him.

To help support Murtaza Mohseni as a sponsor, please contact Stephen Watt on Facebook.

You can also reach out to Murtaza Mohseni directly on Facebook.

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

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