Afhan student Ilham is a refugee in Turkey and needs your support for health and school
For 22-year-old Ilham he must always temper his dream of living in a free country with everyday life managing challenging health and economic realities in Turkey.
“A country where I wouldn’t have to think twice before saying what I want,” he mused in a recent conversation with SUN.
Ilham (not his real name but an alias to protect him) shares an apartment with friends in a small Turkish city where he goes to school. An atheist who fled his country of Afghanistan and violence against him from family and other true believers, Ilham struggles with making ends meet and a medical condition that adds to his woes. Add to that burden his broken heart over what has happened to his country since the West pulled out of Afghanistan last year.
“I have a rare medical condition,” Ilham explained. “It is when the immune system is overactive and mistakes healthy cells for infection and destroys them.”
No cure exists but there are treatments that relieve the symptoms.
Return to Afghanistan would be fatal but in order to remain in Trunkey Ilham must retain his student visa. He completed a Turkish language course recently and his plan is to continue studies in business administration in September.
His apartment is modest without refrigerator, air conditioning or washing machine. They cook meals on a gas appliance.
Ilham worked with the U.S. government in Afghanistan. But he fled for safety before the Taliban regained control.
“If they find out you don’t believe in Islam, that’s certain death,” he said. “However the Taliban are killing people just for cooperating with non-believers.”
He is safer in Turkey than back home but it is still an Islamic country.
“To be honest my university is having lots of students from fundamentalist Islamic backgrounds and that makes me feel unsafe but it sure is better than Afghanistan.”