Exchange to Change May 2017 20170524 EtC mei 2017-web - Page 15

IN THE PICTURE In Brussels, Mamond was taken into the Petit Chateau Reception Center for Asylum Seekers. He was back to square one, but this was not entirely new to him. Due to Afghanistan’s extensive history of war, Mamond was born in a Pakistani refugee camp “ I would trade all the advantages of living in a developed country for the opportunity to live with those I love the most and serve my country ” during the Soviet-Afghan war; having only returned to his country in 2001 – after 9/11. War has been a constant presence in his life. The difference now was that Mamond had a family of his own. Leaving his wife and children behind to apply for asylum was a strategy to protect them; however, one followed by a 5-month wait filled with uncertainty, fear and distress. It took another 11 months for his family to join him here. Meanwhile, Mamond would be constantly checking social media and the news, worried that something could have happened to his loved ones. Today he still does that. 15 To keep his mind sane, Mamond tried to see these circumstances as opportunities for self-improvement. He focused on getting an education he wouldn’t have access to in Afghanistan. “This master programme [at IOB] encourages me to meet my objectives”, he explains. Coming from a country where, according to UNESCO, only 38.2% of the population are literate – the vast majority, men –, Mamond believes that studying development will allow him to someday greatly contribute to Afghanistan. “I would trade all the advantages of living in a developed country for the Something else happens in situations opportunity to live with those I love like this. Asylum seekers commonly the most and serve my country. One experience the loss of their social day it will be safe to go back home – I identities, which may be even more will be able to survive there. I was astounding when it happens in a born as a refugee. I have been living as collective scale. Far away from the a refugee. But I want to die in another world you used to