Dedication to education forced teacher to flee violence in Afghanistan

Published: 2 December 2015 8:14 CET

By Nichola Jones, IFRC

Hazarat Khan Khpal Waak, 27, was the director of an education institute in Afghanistan but was forced to leave after receiving threats. This week he arrived in Gevgelija transit camp in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia where the Red Cross is on the ground.

“The second half of my name means ‘independent’ so I guess I’m ‘Mr Independent’. I was always like that. But love makes you do crazy things. I fell in love with a girl, a beautiful girl and it changed everything.  I married her. I would do anything for her – that’s why I am here.

“My college was shut down. I’d had a lot of threats and warnings because my business was education. I tried to explain that this is the 21st century and it is important that Afghans learn IT skills and how to use the computer. They didn’t listen.

The power of love

“Now it is too dangerous for me there. It’s dangerous for my wife too but I didn’t want her to do this journey. Three or four times I’ve been in situations where I thought ‘this is it. I’m going to die.’ But I’m still here and I told my wife I will bring her in a proper way when I’ve found somewhere safe for us to stay.

“I speak to her on the phone but I don’t have any photos of her with me. Sometimes she worries I will forget her but of course I won’t.

“We’ve been through difficulties together but we are strong. Three months ago, we had a baby son. He survived for two days but then he passed away. I think about him all the time and it’s painful.  But I really hope there is a future for me and my wife together somewhere else.

“Being single is good.  Having fun with your friends is good. But finding your true love is something else – it’s a new kind of life.”