The picture above is the only one I have of me as a child. I’m in Kabaapian Refugee Camp, on the outskirts of Peshawar City, Pakistan. I don’t know which year it was taken because my family’s documents and records were destroyed in the war.
The picture below is me today. I am a civil engineer by training, but a humanitarian first.
This is my story. I’m sharing it with you, in the hope you will donate to help RedR to prepare more people like me to be ready when disaster and conflicts strike.
My name is Noor. I was born in Afghanistan, and my family and I had a beautiful life before the war. Our house was tall, with a swimming pool in the yard and a lush, verdant summer garden in the front.
Then the war started. It began in Kabul and swept east towards us with all the anger and noise and terror that war brings.
My father was imprisoned. Fearing for our safety, we fled our home and walked for eight days and seven nights to reach Pakistan. I don’t remember much of the journey, aside from the huge, impenetrable mountains, or the fine shade under which we slept, or the hunger and tiredness of it all.
When we arrived at the refugee camp, we were given a plastic sheet and metal tent pegs to create a shelter. Little did we know at the time, but this camp of plastic sheeted tents was to be my home for more than a decade.
As a refugee, you lose the sense of being human; you forget you deserve dignity and respect. You’ve been through so much humiliation that when a humanitarian worker with a blue jacket and a UN cap comes and talks to you, you realise – I have rights, I have a voice
I was inspired by the humanitarians I saw in Kabaapian camp. I worked hard. I graduated from school and studied civil engineering. I spent five years as an aid worker in Afghanistan; the country I was once forced to leave. I built shelters for displaced people, helping those forced to endure the same hardships I once did.
I grew up a refugee, I’m now an engineer with a PhD, but I’ve always considered myself a humanitarian first.
Will you help RedR give more people like me the specialist knowledge we need to step up when we are needed? Click here to donate
I formerly worked for RedR UK, and earlier this year, we were planning to deliver a project in Afghanistan to train local farmers on how to manage drought, which can leave thousands of people without a home. With the sudden and catastrophic Taliban takeover, this project can no longer go ahead.
But drought isn’t only a problem for Afghanistan. Drought and other disasters will displace millions across the Middle East and Asia, and spurred by climate change, will soon affect all regions of the world. One billion people will be without a home by 2050.
In January 2022, hopefully, we’ll deliver a drought management project for farmers in Jordan, building their resilience and thwarting displacement before it occurs.
Disasters are rapidly outpacing funding - the number of climate-related disasters has increased fivefold in the last fifty years, with evidence suggesting that environmental degradation can fuel and worsen conflict, resulting in more families being forced out of their homes. At the end of 2020, more than 82 million people had been displaced worldwide – a record high.
Money should not be a barrier to saving lives and keeping communities, families and children together.
I’m writing to ask you to make a gift to RedR today, so that we can help more people around the world. We are truly thankful for any donation made to help our cause.
So, whatever you can give this Christmas, thank you for taking the time to read my story.
All good wishes,
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