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Transcript: “Journey to Canada: Stories of Refugees – Fawad”
Video length: 03:18 minutes
FAWAD: Then my dad came back and said, “Listen, we have to leave,” and we went to my cousin’s house for a week. On that day, my house got hit by five missiles.
My dad was in the house, and so he went outside to take a look, and he said that he opened the gate, and as soon as he opened the gate, a bullet sort of zoomed right by him, and he could feel the heat of the bullet going...it was that close. And at that point he said, “Ok, I better get in the basement of the house, because that’s the only safest place,” and I guess that’s how he survived, you know, the five missiles that day...
FAWAD: The first couple of years we were living in a place called Arbab Road, and it was a less than ideal situation. There were five families living in one house. There was a lot of times where we had to study with the lamp, you know, in the corner of the house, but that was the main goal for my parents and for me, was to get an education. I started to take a separate English course, and I studied English until...for another year and a half.
My brother actually applied to a program called WUSC, World University Service of Canada. And he got accepted and he came to Canada through that process, which gave me a lot of hope that there is a way that I could maybe apply as well, but the competitive guy that I am, I thought, ok, well, let’s face this. Let’s see if we can do it. There were about 500 applicants from Pakistan on that year, and I was one of them. I did end up scoring the highest among all of my colleagues, all of my friends that were applying. I received another letter saying “You’re going to Halifax, and you’ve been accepted at Dalhousie.”
And it was difficult, but I did find some friends and some people I could connect with. I established sort of a support system. We had the World University Service of Canada local committee at Dalhousie. They were very supportive. One of my goals obviously was to finish my bachelor’s, and so that was a great experience, but when I left Halifax and moved to Toronto, I was able to reunite with my family. My brother was there. We sponsored my mom. She came, so it was great to see her and be back with the family together and sort of start my life all over again.
And that I have a chance now to prove it to everybody and to this country that you’ve given me a chance, and now it’s my turn to give back. Right now I’m working in the public service, and I want to continue with this career, and I want to, you know, have aspirations of getting into politics down the road, possibly. I do a lot of community work, and that’s something I want to continue. Going through the process myself, I feel like I can now give back and give them a sense of, you know, hope that look, I made it through; you can, too.
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