Fleeing Torture


Usra Ahmadzi walks to the basement of her house and freezes halfway down the stairs. The dark and cramped room reminds her of her experience of captivity back in Afghanistan. Usra and her two sons, 15 year old Omar and 17 year old Ali, were refugees from Afghanistan three years ago. They are now permanent residents of Canada, currently living in subsidized housing.

Although their housing situation is not ideal, it is much better than the imprisonment, torture, and abuse they faced back in Afghanistan. This torture caused Usra to become legally blind, and was the reason for hers and Omar’s mental health issues, which range from post-traumatic stress disorder and paranoia. Omar has been severely affected, unable to sleep without his mother by his side or without the lights on. He also suffers from a fear of men because of the inflictors of his torture, and moving beyond this has proved difficult because the primary male figure in his life – his father – passed away years ago. Ali has also shown difficulty from moving on with his experiences, engaging in substance abuse to cope.

Because Usra suffers from mental health issues, visual impairment, seizures, and arthritis, working is not an option. She receives some money from the Ontario Disability Support Program, but it is not enough to survive on. Apart from therapy for Omar, Usra has other medical expenses to focus on, such as Ali’s lengthy dental bill from a fall a couple of years ago.

Usra is trying to move to a more suitable home that meets her physical and mental needs, but there is a long waiting list for other housing. She felt as though she had lost hope, but then she found National Zakat Foundation.

After assessing her case, National Zakat Foundation paid off her son’s entire dental debt. NZF also assisted her in moving to another house where she and her children felt safer. National Zakat Foundation provided emergency food support at the time, and continues to provide her with monthly food vouchers.
Although the traumatizing memories of her past have not faded, National Zakat Foundation has worked hard in ensuring that Usra and her sons feel happier and safer in the new home they live in and strive to make this family feel comfortable and content again. Please donate to NZF to keep assisting families in need.


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