“We are all sad, but we are safe”: meeting with Afghan refugees in Loire-Atlantique

Mahnaz, 15, listens to music from his country on his way to the beach. After ten days of health quarantine, this is your first excursion. She is part of a group of 88 Afghan refugees in Piriac-sur-Mer in the Loire-Atlantique. But Mahnaz still doesn’t have the head to swim. “I’m sad because my grandparents are still there, in Afghanistan”, she confides.

They all have this somewhat ambivalent feeling. “We are all sad because we abandoned our studies, our loved ones, explains Marwa Safa, an economics student. But the most important thing is that we are now safe “, adds the young woman who already speaks five languages. Ahsanullah, he sits on the rocks and looks fondly at his 10 year old son.

“It’s the first time my son has seen the sea and now he’s taking a bath! It’s really beautiful.”

Ahsanullah, father of an Afghan refugee family

to France

Everyone is welcomed for at least one month in this accommodation of the Federation of Secular Works, reserved for summer camps. The neighbors are doing very well there, like Sixtine, who even came to help with the housework and food. “We see that there are some who need to isolate themselves, from time to time, there are some who crack (…) Obviously, we would like to give a hug because we say we can comfort. But it’s not at all codes here so we can’t, She explains. Even children who are very cute, we want to give them kisses, but let’s hold back,” continues Sixtine.

They try, when diving, to forget about the Taliban’s return. 25-year-old Fanoos personifies everything fundamentalists hate. She even plays soccer for the national team. “Since the Taliban, everything is banned, not just football, cricket too; all sports are banned for women”, she says. Fanoos is not only a football player, he is also a civil engineer. Your first goal is to learn French as quickly as possible. But she also hopes to one day return to her country, to rebuild it: “When the Taliban regime falls, I will come back, she promises herself. I want to work for the Afghans. This is important because we, the younger generation, we women, will put our whole heart into it. ”

An Afghan family received at Piriac-sur-Mer in Loire-Atlantique, September 5, 2021. (AGATHE MAHUET / RADIO FRANCE)

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More than 2,600 Afghans were received on French soil. Some have already found asylum in cities like Lille or Strasbourg.

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