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College of Education

An Afternoon in Toronto: A Refugee's Personal Journey

Forced displacement described by a young woman, recalling an experience she had when she was five years old (additional video not in the documentary film):


I was born and raised in Iran. At the age of five my parents had separated and in Iran when parents separate, the child, the custody of the child goes to the father. At that point I was living with my father and my stepmom. I was only allowed to see my mom once a month at the courthouse for about two hours, and my mom was a former political prisoner so she had a lot of difficulties already living in the country. After about six months my mom decided that she wanted to escape because she just did not feel safe in Iran anymore and she wanted to take me with her, so during one of those visits she had asked me if I wanted to join her and she told me that I will maybe not see my dad for a while but if I was okay with it, she wanted to take me far away.

At that point she had already arranged everything and she was just waiting for me to confirm and I, I told her that I wanted to live with her as I wasn't happy with living with my father. So we traveled with a bus to the border of Iran and Turkey. And there we stayed with the smuggler that my mom had contacted and because I didn't have my passport, I smuggled into Turkey with the smuggler fleeing on the mountains. But my mom, they suggested that she doesn't come with and she just uses her passport and travels by land legally to cross the border. So I arrived in Turkey with the smuggler and I contacted my mom, I told her I arrived, and I was 5 years old at this time. And after she heard from me, she crossed the border. She met me in Turkey and that's when we went to the United Nations and introduced ourselves and became refugees in Turkey.

Journey to Refuge ebook cover

Download the eBook at New Prairie Press

Published April 2019

Recommended Citation: Harlow, Trina D., "Journey to Refuge: Understanding Refugees, Exploring Trauma, and Best Practices for Newcomers and Schools" (2019). NPP eBooks. 26. https://newprairiepress.org/ebooks/26

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

See the full Refuge in the Heartland documentary

For more information about the eBook or film, please contact Dr. Trina Harlow, Book Editor and Film Co-Director, at drtrinaharlow@gmail.com.