Italy – From Kabul to Rome, a one-way journey: Negin's future is a university degree

10 January 2023
Photo ©: Corriere della Sera - Buone Notizie

(ANS - Rome) - Negin is a young Afghan woman who fled her country in 2021, together with her family, to have the right to dream of a different tomorrow, in which she can be the protagonist of her choices. She now lives in Italy, welcomed by a supportive network and by the Salesians; she studies on a refugee scholarship and has started a new life with her family. “We are free here,” she says.

Negin A. well remembers that morning fifteen months ago in Kabul, at her home: "It was a day like any other; for weeks we had all been asking ourselves: 'Are they coming in or not?'. But no one wanted to assume the worst, even though we cried after the conquest of Herat. Then, starting at 11 on that morning in mid-August 2021, we met the Taliban again at home, at the university, in offices, on the streets. Everywhere…".

From that day on, the then 19-year-old computer science student began a journey into the unknown that lasted more than a year. A zeroed life, that of Negin, who now, thousands of kilometers away, tries to rebuild together with her mother Razia, expelled from her post as a journalist on 'Tanandon TV', her father Reza, an architect, fired by the Ministry of Infrastructures, her brother Moahmmad Eshan and little sister Mathab. Negin now smiles and says she has faith in the future, shaking tightly the hand of Fr. Pejo, a Salesian, strong as a rock, from the Balkans who, thanks to the generosity of his community, hosts her together with the whole family at the gates of Rome. "The journey was long, first by bus to Herat, then by car to the border with Iran, and finally in the Iranian city of Qom, where we waited for the visa for Italy."

Negin's family's escape from Kabul was made possible thanks to their savings and an incredible, yet discreet, network of solidarity coordinated by an Italian journalist, Maria Grazia Mazzola, and by "Salesiani per il Sociale" who in recent months have successfully completed the transfer to Italy of about seventy Afghan citizens persecuted by the Taliban.

Thanks also to the Salesians, this Hazara family who fled from Kabul has found the strength to start mending the fabric of a life torn apart by hatred and violence. Here Negin was also able to resume her studies: "Before leaving Kabul," she says, "I begged an employee of my university to give me the file with the exams I had done." And now, with that precious piece of paper, the student who attended computer science in Kabul was able to apply for scholarships that LUISS university reserves for refugees. In February she already has an appointment with her first exam at the Faculty of Economics in English. “The latest images from Afghanistan are of the Taliban checking you at the university entrance to see if you’re hiding a pair of jeans in your bag. They treat women like this: they mustn’t study, they mustn’t work, they cannot wear trousers, they must always be accompanied by a man in certain places…,” the student says.

Looking to her future, the Kabul student has clear objectives: “A university degree is the most important goal. But I also hope that my parents will find a job soon because one cannot live with dignity without it." Then, she thinks back to her last few months in Kabul and her smile shows a crack: "Of course, that wasn't a normal life. But it was still my country, our home was there, our friends were there. Then almost everyone left, leaving a whole life behind them. Like us…".


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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