Project ERIAS – examples of positive integration in the labour market

A story by Harun Azimi from Afghanistan


"We don't need much …… and we can be useful". Harun Azimi from Kabul, Afghanistan

“Hundreds of thousands people emigrate from countries in Asia and Africa to Europe. These people are fleeing, and in their escape they are risking everything, risking their lives and also the life of their loved ones. Many of them do not know how far they will go and in this way, they often become victims of fraud, attacks and robberies of sexual violence. In Europe, they are met with racism and prejudice. Why do they escape? Why do they go on roads through unknown hostile countries or wait in refugee camps for months? This is a question that an European can ask. For people fleeing, however, such a question is both stupid and meaningless, and many Europeans will not understand the answer to this question.

Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing from the horror that has gripped their own countries. For many, staying where they were born means starvation or bomb and bullet deaths

For them, wealth is a hope for life and it is normal for every person to always hope that something better will happen to him, he is ready to fight for it. .”

Harun Azimi is from Kabul, graduated from India with a degree in business administration. After graduating, he returned to Afghanistan, where he taught at the university. The 27-year-old young man was forced by difficult circumstances to flee his homeland 2.5 years ago with his wife.

“I received death threats from dangerous people. I was in shock. I reconsidered the situation and was adamant that I should leave Afghanistan, even though I had a good lifestyle and I missed nothing. Together with my wife, first we went in Iran, then in Turkey and finally we reached Bulgaria. You can't imagine what we went through on the way before we entered your country. You can't imagine what we went through for days hiding in the woods, no food, no water, practically nothing. "

“In Bulgaria psychologists worked with the refugees and especially with the young children, on whom the war and the horrors they have left an indelible mark on the refugees. They will not be able to forget it but still trying to erase what they have seen. I have lost everything, what I have is my backpack, it's my family, my home.”

The bitter memories haven’t faded, but in Harmanli Harun feels calm and even happy and wants to look only ahead.

“Bulgaria was not intended to be my destination, at first I thought I should go elsewhere, when I arrived here accommodated in Harmanli and saw that people really treat me very well, I found a job in the organization "Doctors Without Borders" then in "Тhe red cross“. I like Bulgaria very much and I want to stay and live here. I am really happy now, the people are good, I like your culture, the nature is beautiful and by law when you enter the first EU country you have to stay in it and apply to stay. Our procedure for obtaining permanent residence status has started, I am already working and this is important so that I do not have any problems. I need nothing more than to live in a peaceful country.

My desire is to study, to complete a master's degree, to start working in the specialty. I want to make a career. My wife also works and wants to study at a university in Bulgaria. If I get permission to stay in your country, we will be useful. There are positive and negative people everywhere, I have not seen anything bad in Bulgaria, and the people are very good and warm-hearted. The infrastructure is very good, when I walk around the city I feel calm. I know that nothing bad can happen to me, everything is normal for me, so I have been in Bulgaria for 2.5 years.”

Far from Afghanistan, Harun does not feel like a stranger in a foreign country because many people have extended a friendly hand to him.

“I have many Bulgarian friends in Harmanli and in Sofia as well. I have an excellent relationship with them, they are good people. I spend a lot of time with them as well as with my compatriots. All families who are accommodated in Harmanli want to stay in Bulgaria and have already found a job, no one wants to go to other countries because they have already got acquainted with the culture and people and want to stay here. Their children go to school, the situation for them is calm and no one wants to run away from it. We do not need anything else, we want to be useful and live in peace.

Those who stayed in our city are already professionally fulfilled. They are very cool and sunny people. They are part of our city.”



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