Homeless in Kabul

Kim Asher and her partner have been supporting Sharif, a young Afghani, since early 2012, when he was homeless in Kabul. He is an orphan and is a member of the Hazara community. The Hazara (Persian: هزاره‎‎) are overwhelmingly Shia Muslims and make up the third-largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.

To put Sharif’s situation in context, in 2010 foreign troops in Afghanistan numbered 150,000, and civilian deaths reached record levels. In 2011, the year Sharif and Kim met, Pakistan-Afghan border skirmishes intensified; large scale attacks by the Pakistani-based Haqqani network took place across the country; and Taliban offensives in and around Kabul increased. In 2011 there were 2.7 million Afghan refugees (with 1 million in Iran), while Australia housed 23,434 refugees in total. Today the groups, splinter groups, foreign combatants and government forces fighting in Afghanistan continues to balloon, and Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation has reached record levels. On top of bombs, guns and soldiers, while he was living on Kabul’s streets Sharif also had to deal with freezing winters; wild dogs; junkies; and criminals. All this, and he kept going to school. I wanted to know how and why Kim’s been supporting him these years.

After ending up on the streets, Sharif enrolled himself in high school and worked part time jobs. One of those jobs was in was in a bakery, where he could sleep 1 or 2 nights a week — as long as the baker wasn’t there himself. He managed to graduate near the top of his class. After he graduated high school, Kim and her partner helped him enrol in a civil engineering degree at a university in Malaysia, where he continues studying today. 

Sharif and Kim chat every night, either by text or phone. He is bright, hard working and intelligent, — and like all of us he deserves every opportunity to thrive, be safe and healthy. You can donate to Kim’s campaign here.