Afghan Families Spend Days and Nights at An Airport in Brazil Waiting for Shelter

Refugees who arrive without resources or contacts in the country have nowhere to stay

It is 10:35 pm on Monday (11), and the Afghan Khalida Nasimi, 28, checks if her children are sleeping, caresses their faces, and carefully arranges the blanket over each one. The ritual, which unites mothers from all over the world during their children's sleep, is followed by her while Ahmad, 10, Sofia, 8, and Surab, 6, sleep on benches on the mezzanine floor of Terminal 2 at Guarulhos International Airport.

GUARULHOS, SP, BRASIL, 11-04-2022: Mohammad Zahim Nasimi (31) and his wife Khalida (28) (Foto: Bruno Santos/ Folhapress) - Folhapress

After months of waiting in Iran for a humanitarian visa, Khalida and her husband, Mohammad Nasimi, 31, arrived in Brazil with their three children on Friday (8). On Tuesday morning (12), they told their story to the reporter, in a mixture of Persian and English, with the help of a translation app and a video call with an interpreter.

On that day, there were nine more Afghans in the terminal, waiting for vacancies at some shelter: three women, five men, and a child. The situation is becoming common among refugees of this nationality, who resort to the Brazilian humanitarian visa to have a chance to leave the country dominated by the Taliban, but arrive without knowing anyone and with exhausted financial resources.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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