Dr. Waheed Arian has a clear message for Refugee Week. He wants people to understand that if you support refugees, they can give back to the world, and to their community.
Originally from Afghanistan, Dr Arian is leading by example. He is an emergency doctor in the NHS, and runs Teleheal, a charity connecting doctors here with health workers in conflict zones,. His memoir, ‘In the Wars’ is being released in June.
His book tells the story of his early life in Afghanistan, the bombs that form his earliest memories and the refugee camp in Pakistan that was his home after being forced to flee. His account is one of determination and the power of education.
Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said: “Dr Waheed Arian’s life is a story of unflinching, relentless determination to fulfil a dream instilled in an ailing five year old child by a local doctor. But it is also the story of a lost childhood and of a family (and a people) displaced by the storms of the endless Afghan wars – and the story of a refugee who arrived in the UK at 15, helped by smugglers because no other way was possible.”
“Ultimately,” he added, “his story intersects with the contemporary public debate, whereby asylum seekers who arrive irregularly are often depicted as a threat to society. No-one who has been treated by Dr Arian would see him as such.”
The theme of Refugee Week in the UK is “We Cannot Walk Alone.” Dr Arian’s life and writing show his dedication to helping others, and what happens when refugees are welcomed and assisted.
During the pandemic, he has worked long shifts in full PPE at an NHS hospital. Despite this, he took some time out to tell us about his experience working during COVID-19 and explain what motivates him to continue passionately helping others.
You can order Dr Arian’s book this Refugee Week, learn what it means to be a refugee and what a powerful force inclusion can be.