June 16th, 2024

Local musician hopes to bring Afghan family to Canada


By Lethbridge Herald on March 30, 2022.

The daughter of a man whose family Allan Wilson is trying to sponsor to come to Canada cries after a decision was made by the Taliban in Afghanistan to not allow girls to return to school. Submitted photo

Al Beeber – Lethbridge Herald

Their love of music connected them and now Allan Wilson is hoping generosity will bring an Afghan man and his family to a new life in Canada.

Wilson, a musician and retired teacher, began communicating with an Afghan teacher after the man came across Wilson’s song “I Just Want You to Come Home” on social media.

The two began communicating and have developed an online friendship in the past two years.

Wilson is spearheading an effort to bring the man – whose name can’t be identified for security reasons – and his family to Canada.

The man, his wife and seven children need sponsorship, however and Wilson is trying to get a group of five people to help bring them to safety from the Taliban-controlled country.

A total sum of $43,600 to be put in a trust account must be raised to cover a refugee family’s expenses for one year in Canada. The sponsors must agree to assist the family for one year as they become familiar with Canada.

Wilson said many sponsors help out much longer.

But getting the family here isn’t easy. They must first somehow make it into Pakistan or a refugee camp in one of several countries neighbouring Afghanistan.

After acquiring an Afghan passport, the man can travel to Pakistan to get the required United Nations paperwork for his family but if he returns home, then his refugee claim is dismissed because that suggests his home country is not dangerous to him.

So Wilson said in a Monday interview, safe travel to another country is necessary for all nine members of the family.

If that is accomplished, then the process can begin, one which can take between two months and two years because of security checks and other matters.

In the meantime, Wilson is assisting the family financially, sending $300 monthly via Moneygram to Afghanistan so they can eat.

With communications limited to certain channels and the need for secrecy so the Taliban and jealous neighbours don’t find out about the assistance, Wilson’s efforts are being done quietly.

“Two years ago, he wanted to get out,” Wilson said of the teacher who lives a couple hundred kilometres from Kabul.

“As soon as it looked like the Taliban was making advances, we started talking every day,” said Wilson.

“It’s just my intuition that he’s honest and grateful,” of the help he’s getting, Wilson said, adding the man has never asked him for money.

A couple of options are available through the Canadian refugee program, the most workable being the formation of a group of five.

Wilson has been working with an immigration consultant out of Calgary on the process. Right now, the odds of getting the man and family out are zero; if they get out of the country, they improve to about 50 per cent after two years, he said.

‘Having a group of five it means . . .that they get the support so they know where the bus routes are, how to get the kids to school, how to get the child care benefit.” Of that group, only three have to put up money to support a family, he said.

Wilson said he understands the reasons for the time-consuming, in-depth process it takes to bring refugees to Canada.

Not only does the government have to make sure refugees aren’t actually terrorists, “it’s to make sure they do well. Also they prefer entire families as opposed to a single person. The reason is that if a single refugee arrives, most likely they’ll do well but sometimes they work a couple years and go back. Once you land here with your kids and the kids are in school, they stay.

“I know they would do really well here,” said Wilson adding the man knows English and is a potential Taliban target because he has a record of supporting women’s rights in his homeland.

People wanting to assist Wilson can contact him on his Facebook page.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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Jersey44

Impossible to know all the details, but I sure hope Mr. Wilson isn’t being scammed. He’s on FB and has been very proud of the positive feedback he’s gotten from his music online. It’s just that this is exactly how scammers work. Everything he knows of this person and his family could be fake. I hope it isn’t. It would be a nice story.

Jersey44

Also, if you do an image search on the above picture, it shows up in many places. I doubt very much it is the daughter of the person Mr. Wilson thinks he is trying to help.