Afghan refugee who helped British army forced into crowdfunding for vocational training

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n An Afghan refugee who worked for the British Army for 13 years was forced to crowdfund to find a job in London after learning that his qualifications are not recognized in the UK.

Akbar, 38, who wishes to remain anonymous, came to Islington with his pregnant wife and two young daughters after the Kabul evacuation this summer. He provided security assistance to the British Army in Kabul from 2000 to 2013.

“They tried to find us, they tried to find everyone who was working with foreigners, especially with foreign soldiers,” he told Standard.

“I was there for three days. There were a lot of changes around this time. I saw people being killed and houses destroyed. My two year old daughter still has nightmares from what she has seen.

“The Afghan people lost everything overnight. People did not believe that anything could happen overnight, or even in a matter of hours.

He was evacuated from Kabul in a crowded British military plane on August 20 and temporarily housed by the Islington Council. He is currently fundraising for a safety course in London.

“My family is happy here [in the UK] now. We have our own apartment in Islington City Council and we thank the UK government for giving us a place to live, ”he said.

However, that didn’t stop him from worrying about his extended family still in Afghanistan.

Afghans took to the streets to protest the Taliban regime, with some turning violent.

“I am very worried for the safety of my family and their future,” he said.

“Life is difficult in Kabul now. If I was still there, it would be dangerous. The situation is not good at all.

Akbar is now working with crowdfunding platform Beam to raise £ 2,376 to retrain as a security guard in London.

“I started my life from scratch here so I have a lot of hopes and dreams. I first want to find a good job for myself so that I can support my family.

He hopes to start the course on December 13, funding permitting,

Alex Stephany, founder and CEO of Beam, said the organization has supported more than 60 refugees and asylum seekers since its launch in 2017.

“These are people who have been through so much and desperately want a stable job, contribute to our society and build a better future. But there are often big financial hurdles in their path, like training, travel costs, and childcare. ”

Akbar and his family were granted unlimited leave to stay as part of the Interior Ministry’s Operation Warm Welcome program. Under this program, Afghans who have worked with the British Army and the British Government are eligible to settle permanently in the UK, unlike the five years of residency previously offered, which gives them employment rights. unlimited.

Akbar’s fundraising page can be found here.

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