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Afghan family builds new life in Qualicum Beach

Effort to reunite family took four years
The Afghan family of Uranus Walizada, Yousra Sadaqat, and Mushtaq Sadaqat and the people who helped them make it to Canada (back row) Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns, Naomi Taussig, Minister of Rural Economic Development Gudie Hutchings, Keith Nusgart, and Kim Slomnicki. (Submitted photo) Front row from left: Uranus Walizada, Yousra Sadaqat, Mushtaq Sadaqat

An Afghan family, who reunited in Canada after four years of separation, is settling nicely in Qualicum Beach.

Uranus Walizada first arrived in Vancouver as a refugee in 2019, leaving behind her husband Mushtaq Sadaqat and five-year-old daughter Yousra Sadaqat in Afghanistan. She ended up living under the care and support of Qualicum Beach resident Naomi Taussig.

Courtenay-Alberni Member of Parliament Gord Johns, his constituency assistant Kim Slomnicki, and with the unflagging activism from Taussig, all worked together to bring the rest of the family to Canada.

“Mushtaq was in hiding from the Taliban and he was in danger,” said Slomnicki. “Naomi came to us seeking help in 2021. No one gave up.”

Johns met with immigration, refugees and citizenship minister Sean Fraser and pressed him to assist in reuniting the family. Slomnicki, on the other hand, helped Walizada to meet urgent deadlines for the required permanent residency and sponsorship documents.

The application was nearing completion, when an alarming situation occurred. Walizada got word that Mushtaq had been taken by the Taliban for questioning. It got sorted out in the end and Walizada’s husband and daughter eventually made it to Canada in November 2022.

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When Mushtaq and Yousra made it to Canada, Slomnicki and Taussig accompanied Walizada at Vancouver International Airport and witnessed the touching reunion.

“To see Uranus kiss and hug her daughter and husband again after four years was priceless,” said Slomnicki. “It will forever be a cherished memory for me.”

The family has been building their new life here in Canada. Walizada now works at Thrifty’s in Parksville. Yousra has started kindergarten at Arrowview Elementary School and is already communicating in English. Mushtaq is awaiting his final permanent residency documents so he can get a driver’s license and start working.

Taussig says as stressful as the experience was at times, she, her husband Keith Nusgart and their children have been enriched by it.

“Uranus became a daughter to me and my husband, and a sister to our girls,” said Taussig. “She brought light and love into our home. She inspires us with her gratitude for everything she received, and with her determination to give back — not just to us, but to Canada and to other people in need.”

— NEWS Staff, submitted

About the Author: Parksville Qualicum Beach News Staff

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