ROMEO AND JULIET
NUR AZIZAH AND
Who they are: Nur Azizah and Naqibullah Amani, and their son Saqib
Profile: Stateless / Rohingya (in the case of Azizah) and Afghani
Current location: Indonesia – since 2011
Risk of returning: Death and torture / No country to return to
Need: $26,700 CAD or $29,437 AUD as required for a family of three
The opportunity: Private refugee sponsorship to Canada
Advantages: Fluent in English, UNHCR certified
Born in Malaysia and Rohingyan through her father, Nur Azizah has been stateless since birth. A diligent and inspiring young woman, she once dreamed of becoming a teacher or a lawyer, and inspiring other refugee children, especially girls, to achieve their full potential. Sadly, she has been denied her right to education both in Malaysia and in Indonesia. Instead of getting a formal education, she studied for years in makeshift, refugee-run schools.
Yet she did her best, overcoming the odds to learn fluent English and four other languages.
In 2011, feeling despair over the lack of opportunity in Malaysia, her father decided to take the family to a better life in Australia. Their first stop was in Indonesia, where officials intercepted them and put them in refugee detention. They found themselves stuck in Makassar, Indonesia, an hour’s flight from Bali.
"I was born as a refugee, and still living as a refugee for (the) entire of my life. I’m not hoping too much, but I trust that God will do something for me…” - Nur Azizah
A Romeo and Juliet Romance
Azizah found true happiness for the first time in 2018, when she found the love of her life, Naqibullah. They met during a refugee protest in Makassar and were wed in the same year. Naqibullah is Shia minority of Afghani, a group that - like the Rohingya - are the target of a state-wide genocide, in his case at the hands of the Taliban back in Afghanistan. Both communities are tight knit and defensive, and Naqibullah and Azizah have taken a great risk in crossing the communal divide.
They have faced discrimination and outright rejection from their communities - at one point having to stay apart for months during a flare up of tension within their refugee groups. Despite the odds, their love persists, and for the first time in Azizah’s life, she has found someone that she can fully trust and rely on during the toughest times.
Since that time, they have volunteered on many of the same activities, as they also share a desire to make the world a better place. But the stress and uncertainty has taken a heavy toll on the couple.
And Now a Family
In recent months, some wonderful news. On the January 14, 2020, early in the morning. Azizah and Naqibullah welcomed their child into the world.
Saqib is a healthy baby boy. They are now a complete family, and they feel thankful for their good fortune.
In another positive turn, Azizah was hired by the UNHCR, a very rare honour for refugees in Indonesia. Now the sole breadwinner for the family, which is now based temporarily in Aceh, the westernmost part of Indonesia. This year, hundreds of Rohingyan refugees became stranded in that part of Indonesia as it is the only country that is accepting the boats from Myanmar and rescuing them from the sea. As the UNHCR's sole female translator, Azizah plays an essential role in welcoming and managing the waves of newcomers. As a loving father and husband, Naqibullah has been essential in taking care of the family's needs at home and helping to raise their son Saqib.
The family's journey, by turns both difficult and inspirational, has become the subject of a documentary-in-the-making by Pek, an Australian filmmaker who knows the family personally. As Alfred notes,
"It is certainly a rarity to hear from a female refugee about the state of indefinite transit in Indonesia. The film aims to capture her outspokenness, her determination to survive, work and fight for her rights as a woman and a mother. Coming from a broken family, with no formal education, and overcoming abuse and discrimination from her fellow refugee community, she has a story that needs to be experienced and shared."
Azizah and Naqib have shared their story in the hope of finding sponsors in Canada. The couple has friends who have promised to help with fundraising for the amount needed for private sponsorship. What we are looking for: five caring people in the same Canadian city to be on his settlement team, to welcome him to his new life in Canada.
We hope that this lovely family can fulfill their dreams of belonging to a place in this world. As of now, they will all be stateless and cannot go anywhere else. Let's help find Azizah, and Naqibullah and Saqib a place to call home.
Reach out and discover how wonderful it is to privately sponsor good people to start a new life – with your help – in Canada!