Meet Yasin, a 13 year old boy from Afghanistan.
He used to live with his father and brothers but one brother was killed while working as a police officer and another was lost.
Yasin didn’t attend school but instead looked after the sheep of a rich man who paid him approximately $40 each month. While he was in the fields one day, a villager came and said to Yasin, “your house has been burned by the Taliban.” Yasin rushed home and found all that remained was blood, dirt and dust. He ran back to the fields in fear and was taken in by his employer.
A short while later, some people approached Yasin while he was working and asked him to go with them. They took him to a house where there were other boys, encouraged him to stay and said they would educate him. He received military training and was given pills every day to make him compliant and stop him from running away. Yasin, along with the other boys were told that if they became suicide bombers they would go straight to Heaven, where their lives would be perfect.
One day, Yasin was given a vest full of explosive materials, directed to a police station and told to press a green button when he arrived. As Yasin approached, he heard a policeman shout, “Don’t move or I will shoot you!” Yasin was arrested and when asked about his identity he told them his deceased brother used to be a police officer.
The police knew his brother and kept Yasin in the police station. Eventually, the Police Commander took Yasin to the Ministry of Social Affairs in Kabul. From there, he was referred to Hagar’s Forgotten No More project for trafficked boys in Afghanistan.
Yasin was highly traumatised, afraid and extremely quiet when he arrived. He had nightmares, cried often, and occasionally refused to eat. A Hagar counsellor started working with him and, day by day, Yasin improved and began to make friends with the other boys.
As time went by, Hagar staff watched Yasin transform into a happy, clever and polite boy who is deeply grateful to the police officer who saved his life. Yasin is now doing well at school, is learning to repair mobile phones, and has started cooking with his Hagar house father.
Yasin said, “I would like to be educated better, but I know that I have missed out on a lot of education and I am now older than other boys. If I can catch-up then I would like to be a doctor as when I visited them I could see it was a good job.”
Hagar’s team works tirelessly, often for years, to find and reconnect clients with their family members. Our goal is to eventually reunite Yasin with another brother who recently made contact with the Ministry of Social Affairs. If the brother’s identity is confirmed, and it is safe for Yasin, Hagar staff hope that he can live with this brother. Until then, he will continue to learn and stay safe in Hagar’s care.