Large family finds space for one more
Sadeq who was born in Afghanistan and grew up in Iran fled to Austria in October 2015. He was forced to leave after witnessing the horrific murder of his father at the hands of his employer. The police did nothing against the powerful business owner who kept harassing and threatening Sadeq and his family. Even a year after the murder, Sadeq, his mother, and two sisters moved to another village to avoid the man but he followed them and tried to run Sadeq down with his car. He was concerned Sadeq might try to avenge his father’s death. The young man packed a small backpack and set out for Europe by foot, bus, train, and boat.
“I feel very lucky to be here, otherwise I would be dead. They are like my family,” said Sadeq.
The Hebenstreits welcomed him into their home after meeting Sadeq at a camp for unaccompanied children. It was Veronica’s idea to become a host family.
“My biggest problem is worrying about the safety of my family still in Iran. I want to become a police officer to help people here. My dream is to get permanent residency and get my family over,” he said.
It’s like he is my fifth child.
Barbara, who is a tourist guide, speaks proudly of Sadeq’s achievements.
“It’s like he is my fifth child. It’s just the same,” said Barbara.
When people ask her how long he might stay with her, her response is always the same: “I don’t know, forever, how long do children stay at home with their parents?”
Portrait by Aubrey Wade
Assisted by Stjepan Sedlar
Text by Nadine Alfa
This story is part of the No Stranger Place series, which tells stories of refugees and locals living together in Europe. The project was initiated by Aubrey Wade, Sarah Böttcher and Stjepan Sedlar, and developed in partnership with UNHCR and Nadine Alfa.