From Kabul to Paris, Singa helps Afghan refugees

Par Ghazal Golshiri

Posted today at 4:15 p.m., updated at 4:19 p.m.

On this evening of Saturday, September 4, it’s time to party in the house of David Robert, in Pantin. The general manager of the NGO Singa France installed chairs and tables outside, took out many glasses and plates, and put fruit juices in the fridge. He is expecting around twenty Afghans, just evacuated from Kabul after the Taliban took power on August 15, members of the association and French soldiers who helped them flee their country. And also Benoît Hamon who, five days later, will announce leaving politics to become CEO of Singa Global.

A decisive week

In the garden, Abbas Khavari, Afghan refugee in France for ten years, installed a small oven and prepared a table with pizza dough, cheese, vegetables, sausage. Ingredients “Are halal, the time they adapt”, he says with a smile, about these newly arrived compatriots. Abbas Khavari started a small home pizza business, Pizza Bobo, thanks to Singa.

Founded in 2012 in France and present in six other European countries as well as in Canada, the NGO seeks to create a link (the meaning of Lion, in Lingala, the Bantu language of the Congo) between citizens and refugees, through meetings, accommodation and support for entrepreneurship. It also connects citizens and business leaders who want to create projects related to asylum and migration. Today, the creator of Pizza Bobo is also a volunteer for the association and ensures the reception of new exiles.

Med Ewaz (right), in France for six years, serves a drink to Roya and her sister-in-law Farida who have just arrived in France.

Scattered in hotels on the outskirts of Paris, they arrive, group by group, loaded with gifts: bouquets of flowers, almonds brought from Afghanistan, bottle of wine in hand to thank the association. Among them, elderly parents, young couples, teenagers and even a 2-month-old infant, Hasti, whose parents had to wait two nights in the airport. In this stormy early evening, cries of joy resound.

“But are you here?” is written, in Dari, an Afghan for the attention of a soldier who, ten days earlier, helped her to climb a large wall to enter the airport. Can I take a picture of myself with you? It will only be for me. I would like to print the photo and hang it on the wall. ” They all lived together a decisive week, where the life and death of those who sought to flee the Taliban were sometimes played out.

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