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Stories can change lives. And if you’re Saima, a 19 year old young woman from Afghanistan, your story can change the lives of your parents and siblings for the better.    

Have you ever felt the uncertainty of not knowing when you would see a loved one again? This is a feeling that Saima has been facing for almost 5 years.  Saima came to Canada when she was 15 years old.  She requested refugee status after walking over the Canadian border from a girl’s camp in the US with her parents’ blessing.  Saima and her family are Hazara, an ethnic and religious minority that is regularly targeted and persecuted by the Taliban.  When the Taliban arrived in their home city of Kabul, the rest of Saima’s family fled to a nearby country where they are currently in a safe place but unable to move about freely, work, or go to school.  

Saima has been advocating tirelessly for them ever since. Throughout her time living and studying here in Canada she has been acting as translator for her family, calling them daily, and filling out the necessary immigration paperwork that will allow them to come to Canada as refugees. Speaking with Saima, there is a sense of urgent waiting that comes through in our conversation. Her hope in seeing her family brought to Canada, and her positive graciousness have sustained her through these crucial years of her life as she’s been separated from them.      

Her family isn’t happily abandoning Afghanistan.  Saima’s parents were community leaders and were committed to making the community better.  They are active supporters of Human rights who believe in education for girls.  Saima also has four younger siblings: three brothers and a sister, all of whom were educated with the support of her parents.  Saima’s dad said that he “left Afghanistan to help [his] daughters have a better life”.  That better life came at a price: they lost the home they built, and all their possessions with no prospect of return.  They are now undocumented and at risk in.      

In her quest to bring her family to Canada, Saima has been assisted by Leah Macfadyen and other members of a Community ‘constituent group’ who worked with the United World College Alumni Network to find people who could help the family . This group and their contacts have been working tirelessly to provide safe housing, daily supplies and assist with language issues.  Leah said it was easy to reach out to connections through this network because of a shared “powerful philosophy of peace and understanding.”

In order to sponsor the family, Saima and the community group supporting her must raise $52,000. This money goes towards supporting the family’s new start in Canada. Saima and the community constituent group have been fundraising to reach the $52,000 goal.  If you wish to contribute to this fund you will find information on how to do this and a link below.  The Diocese of New Westminster is helping Saima’s family sponsorship by acting as the liaison with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada ( IRCC). The diocese will also provide anyone who donates to the family’s sponsorship cause with tax receipts.  The Cathedral’s Justice, Education and Advocacy Mission team (JEAM) will also be assisting with the process in a variety of ways.             

Apart from financial support, Saima asks that people contact their local MP, to ask them to support Immigrant Family Reunification.  You can also pass this article along to anyone in your network who might be open to helping.  

We all have a story to tell.  Saima has a powerful tale about how the courage of one young woman can change lives.  Saima hopes that by sharing her experiences she can change the lives of her family for the better and reunite them once again in a safe country where they will be able to thrive.  She invites you to be part of shaping the outcome of her story.   


To donate funds to help Saima bring her family safely to Canada through Canada’s Refugee Sponsorship Program

Donate Online

Christ Church Cathedral (Vancouver) are co-sponsors in the diocesan refugee sponsorship agreement, through which Saima’s family is applying for resettlement.  You can donate to help Saima’s family through the Cathedral’s online giving platform.

  • Go to:  
  • Click the ‘Give Through the Website’ button.
  • Use the dropdown menu at top right to select: ‘Refugee Sponsorship - Saima’s Afghan Family'

Mail a cheque

You may also choose to donate via cheque. Mail your cheque to:

690 Burrard StreetVancouver, British Columbia V6C 2L1

Please indicate on your cheque that your donation is intended for 'Refugee Sponsorship - Saima’s Afghan Family’.

Tax receipts will be emailed or mailed to you at the end of the fiscal year.