Afghan refugee built robot as message of hope

“I also thought that terrorists might kidnap me to use my knowledge of microelectronics for remote control weapons,” he said. When he sp...


“I also thought that terrorists might kidnap me to use my knowledge of microelectronics for remote control weapons,” he said. When he spotted strange men in a car guarding his house, they knew it was time to go. “It was a bad time, really a really bad time,” he said. “We lost a lot of money, our passports, our papers and our dignity. he said of their trip to Greece.

The couple arrived in Athens in early 2017 and moved into an apartment paid for by the Catholic charity Caritas. Their four children – Said Azim, then 18, Said Rahim, 16, Said Hakim, 8, and Sadaf, their only daughter, 5 – started school. Ms. Karimi, a physiotherapist by training, found work for an NGO, helping new mothers. They were safe and the family was almost a model of immigration success.

Except that Mr. Karimi could not find a job, and the asylum procedure was slow and tortuous. To make matters worse, preparing to speak to immigration officials triggered past trauma. “Every time I spoke with the lawyer, I cried,” Mr. Karimi said.

At his wife’s instigation, he sought advice, also through Caritas, which he said was very helpful. “Building Athena also helped me,” he said. “It’s good for me to keep busy. It helped me to avoid psychological problems.

While working on Athena, Mr. Karimi studied English and Greek, eventually passed a European qualifying exam and is now recognized as an orthopedic technician. In 2018, the Karimis were finally accepted as refugees and obtained Greek residence permits. And, in 2019, they received refugee travel documents instead of passports.

These days he is aiming for a license to manufacture soft shoe soles and inserts. “It would allow me to treat refugees with minor disabilities, flat feet or hallux valgus toes, or people with diabetes who need soft soles,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Afghan refugee built robot as message of hope
Afghan refugee built robot as message of hope
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