Hava is currently living in Australia and working closely with JRS Australia and INGOs to support diaspora communities.
As a teacher, a mother, and an advocate, Hava has dedicated her life to protecting displaced people. She was a member of the Hazara community who fled religious persecution from Afghanistan and applied for asylum as a refugee in Iran. She was a teacher who advocated for more than 5,000 refugee children to get an education in Iran before going back home to Afghanistan to improve the lives of Hazara women through education and women empowerment programs. After resettlement in 2013, Hava has worked closely with international communities to protect the rights of displaced people in Australia.
Holding an embroidered pillowcase made by her sister who is now seeking protection, Hava reflects how handicrafts bring her an unforgettable nostalgia. “I see the lives of Hazara women from these handicrafts, their tired hands, and their pains in Afghanistan. Their rights have been violated by the Taliban. Though they are living on the edge of survival, they always have hope when making these handicrafts.”
In Australia where Hava considers as her second home, she admitted that something is lacking. “Afghanistan is always my home, even though it is not a safe place for me and my community. I consider Australia as my second home because I feel safe here. My children can go to school and we are protected here, but for other people at ‘the corner’, they should also have this opportunity. They should have equal rights, access to education and medical services.”
“Australia is a safe place. But when I look at my people, other Hazara who are seeking protection here, I feel them. They are my brothers and sisters.” Hava’s sense of belonging and identity is still attached to her past. It’s not Afghanistan as a country that she feels home, but rather her community – the Hazara people. “Seeing these handicrafts, I see myself, my people, and their battles. I want to help and protect them.”
“I believe that we, humans, can live together in this world. It’s our common home. Why we cannot be united? We should live together peacefully, with no adversity. We, refugees, are resilient.” As a resettled refugee, she wants to send a message of hope to displaced people who are waiting for resettlement. “You are not alone. We are all brothers and sisters. I encourage you to keep your hope alive. One day, you will get the things you are waiting for.”