Emerging from lockdown, I was excited to try the shiny, new nail salon around the corner. While I was waiting for my fancy new nails to dry, I made a friend. The woman sitting next to me was new to the inner west, in fact, it transpired that she was newly arrived in Australia.
My new mate Khalida and her husband Reva, had bravely escaped from Kabul less than six months ago. I expressed to her that so many of her neighbours, in the western suburbs and beyond, watched the news helplessly as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban.
Melbourne has the largest number of Afghan refugees in Australia. Australians watched as thousands of Afghans arrived from their homeland, but then fell from view. There seemed to be little call to action of how we could help or welcome people into our diverse community. Khalida kindly agreed to share her harrowing story with her local community.
‘Those that walk among us’ is an extraordinary and superbly written account, that expresses like the play of the same name that, “though tragedies occur and life is full of trials, it is crucial that people never lose hope in themselves or in the possibility of a higher purpose behind human existence.”
Khalida and other inner west Afghan refugees have organised the ‘Afghan children and families Winter Appeal. To donate to this grassroots appeal go to: www.chuffed.org/project/support-for-starving-afghans-in-crisis-facing-cold-winter 100% of donations go directly to those in need in Afghanistan.
As a challenging 2021 draws to a close, a special thank you goes to our Community Partners and Westsider Supporters. Plus the many wonderful Westsiders, who give their time as writers, photographers, designers, digital media extraordinaire’s and proofreaders. It takes a westie village to ensure this community newspaper, with heart, is distributed far and wide in the west of Melbourne.
The Westsider team wishes you a Merry Christmas, fabulous summer and a New Year full of prosperity and adventure.
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Meagan is back in the inner west via a sojourn in Fiji enjoying rediscovering the westside delights