Reminiscing is something that Maryam and I often do while we count our blessings. We think back to our first days in Canada when our family came as refugees. We remember the difficulties that our family faced. During this time, a phrase our mom and dad always repeated to us was “Education is a blessing”. We were lucky to have learnt the value of education at such a young age, not to mention, having our parents help us with our studies every step of the way. Our mom and dad worked multiple jobs and managed to provide all the necessities for us. By starting off fresh in a new country, attaining the bare minimum was challenging. The difficulties felt endless and overwhelming. We remember the number of other Afghan refugees that we met during the first couple years living in Canada, who were facing the same challenges as us. We wondered how many refugees are able to successfully adjust. After looking at the statistics, we were left feeling shocked. In 2015, Afghan men had an annual average wage of $20,755, while Afghan women had an annual wage of $14,746 (Pendakur 6). Afghans in Canada are one of the most vulnerable groups in the Canadian labour market (Pedakur 6). What does this mean for Afghan youth? Youth living in these low income households cannot afford basic everyday school needs. Not only so, youth undergo other stresses of financial burdens.
We believe in education and that it is the way out of the hardships faced by refugees. Maryam and I want spread the message our parents always emphasized to us. We believe change starts as small as providing those school supplies for Afghan youth refugees who may not be able to afford it themselves.
We look forward to providing you with updates soon!
Pendakur, Ravi. “Settlement and Labour Force Outcomes for Afghan Immigrants and Their Children in Canada.” WIDER Working Paper, 2017, doi:10.35188/unu-wider/2017/415-5.