by: Cat Cooke, Miles4Migrants Marketing and Content Manager. Source Ellmarjan and Joachim Anckaert, Steunpunt Asiel.
Ellmarjan, Arsh’s father, worked for four years as a translator for the American army. At one point, the Taliban asked him to leak information, but he refused and told them he’d never cooperate with them. After he and his family were harassed several times by the Taliban, Ellmarjan decided to leave the role for his family’s safety.
He went back to school and then started his own pharmacy in Kabul. Again, the Taliban asked for his collaboration, and, again, Ellmarjan held his ground. In retaliation, the Taliban threw a hand grenade into the pharmacy. Ellmarjan was severly wounded and stayed for half a year in the hospital. For security reasons, they had to close the pharmacy and move his family to a new city.
Ellmarjan became a physician’s assistant in a police hospital. After assisting on an operation of an Afgan General that received some media attention, his life in hiding was over.
One day, he and his father went to the bakery to buy some bread. Suddenly, they heard gunfire, and his father was killed. As it was no longer safe to be in Afghanistan, Ellmarjan and his family were forced to flee the country. In one of the toughest of decisions, Ellmarjan and his wife decided the trip was too dangerous and risky for them to bring their youngest child, Arsh, along. He stayed behind with his grandmother.
After a horrific trip through Iran, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and the Balkans that lasted seven and a half months, they arrived in Belgium in March of 2019 seeking asylum. Almost nine months later, they were granted the official status as a refugee in Belgium. This opened the possibility to ask for family reunification. After another long procedure, Arsh was granted the visa to be with his parents and his new brother.
After almost 2 years, Arsh was reunited with his parents thanks to Miles4Migrants supporters. He’d turned 5 just days before the family reunion, so they celebrated his birthday together at last!