Afghan refugee narrates her story on World Refugee Day

New Delhi, June 22: World Refugee Day wasobserved in New Delhi recently to recognize and applaud the contribution of forcibly displaced people around the world.

On the occasion, an Afghan migrant narrated her journey from war-torn Afghanistan to New Delhi.

The event was organized by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and TERI University and brought together refugees from countries like Afghanistan, Myanmar and Eritrea.

Salma, the Afghan refugee, who now teaches yoga in New Delhi, told ANI, “I had organized a fashion show for girls in 2013 in Afghanistan and got lot of criticism from the Afghan government for adopting western culture which is against Islamic culture. As the Government did not support me, I left my country and migrated to India in 2013.”

As per UNHCR data, there are 21.3 million refugees worldwide and 40.8 million are internally displaced.

“On 20th of June, the United Nations celebrated the World Refugee Day. It is the day when we celebrate the courage, resilience of the refugees those who were forced to leave their countries that’s why we have organized a panel discussion today to create empathy about refugees who are in India,” said Suchita Mehta, a coordinator.

The UNHCR says that there are around 14,000 Afghan refugees in New Delhi.

“I think there is couple of areas particularly where academic institutions can get involved with the refugee agenda one is that there is not enough awareness what we called the recipient societies on refugees and we tend to look upon them as somebody who is a kind of impinging on our society, competing with the resources that are available not necessarily integrating in our culture and so on. We do not tend to focus on the challenges and the background they are coming from what is the value that they bring to our society and how do they help us as Indian citizens integrate into the world better by allowing this multi cultural understanding to develop in society,” said Dr. Leena Srivastava, Vice Chancellor, TERI University.

World Refugee Day is celebrated on June 21 every year.