France. Anaïs, Vincent, and their son César, host Afghan refugees Zulfeqar and Battarine, in Saint-Priest. This portrait is part of the No Stranger Place series, which portrays locals and refugees living together
Anaïs and Vincent, parents of César, 2, left Paris in 2016 to settle in the Lyon region. Their new life has allowed them to open their doors to an Afghan refugee couple, Zulfeqar (second from left) and Battarine.
‘In Paris, we felt somehow helpless, we wanted to do something, but our small flat didn’t allow us to host other people,’ the couple, in their thirties, said. ‘When we came here, we had a spare room, so we thought it was a good opportunity to get started.’
Zulfeqar and Battarine fled Afghanistan, where their families had been persecuted by the Taliban. They recounted their long journey into exile: ‘We walked all night long in the mountains. We were afraid of the police, then we crossed the border and stayed in Turkey for one month. In Izmir, we slept in the elds under the rain. Then we went to Greece, then Hungary and nally France.’
Once they had arrived at their destination, Zulfeqar and Battarine believed they were at the end of their ordeal but they were homeless and had to alternate for months between street life and emergency accommodation. The family’s welcome has been a great relief for them: ‘Anais and Vincent are so nice to us. It’s going well,’ the refugee couple said.