Sixteen-year-old Maysam (not his real name) is among the 35 teenage boys living in a new CWS-supported group home for unaccompanied and separated refugee children in Jakarta. Originally from a small town in Ghazni Province in southeastern Afghanistan, Maysam fled his home after a Taliban-affiliated group abducted his father, who was a shopkeeper.
“We had a good life. But one day, for a reason my family and I never understood, somebody put a bottled of wine in my father’s car; and, when men from the Taliban group found it, they accused my father of selling alcohol. They took him away and I haven’t heard from him since,” Maysam recalls. Soon after the abduction, Maysam received a letter from someone claiming Taliban affiliation telling him to come to a meeting. Fearing for Maysam’s life, his grandfather decided to send him away, in search of safety and, maybe, a better future.
Arriving alone in Indonesia by way of an established escape route to Malaysia, Maysam first lived Bogor, a town near Jakarta. After a year, financial support he had been receiving from his uncle stopped and Maysam found himself alone … and homeless. “I was really alone and didn’t know what to do. I was afraid; I had no food and no friends. Then another refugee told me about UNHCR and how to register there as an asylum seeker.”
Maysam now lives in a new group home that CWS supports in partnership with the UNHCR and the US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration. “I have a great feeling being here,” says Maysam. “With CWS support of food and shelter, and with many new friends, even though I am very sad to be separated from my family and homeland, my hope for the future is to be educated and to settle somewhere where I can live in peace.”