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Even Dark Clouds Can Have a Silver Lining

05-06-2007 Feature

They say that "every cloud has a silver lining" and perhaps this is true for 12 year old Saif-u'Rahman. Saif was living happily with his brother in Iran since 2006, but in May this year he was collected by the local police while shopping, and deported through the Islam Qala border crossing and on to Herat, as one member of a group of mass deportees.


  © ICRC    
  A happy and relieved Saif-u'Rahman is reunited with his older brother Abdul Rahman

As an unaccompanied minor he was taken by the Afghan police to the Juvenile Centre in Herat, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were asked by the Juvenile Centre staff to assist with tracing Saif's family.

Tracing staff of the ICRC Sub-delegation in Herat, together with their colleagues in Kabul, found Saif's father in Kabul, but he was ill and unable to care for his young son. Saif's father deputised another son in Gulbahar to care for him.

The ICRC arranged for Saif to be flown on the ICRC plane from Herat to Kabul; and they reimbursed the fares for Saif's older brother to take the bus to Kabul – for the two to be reunited - and travel by bus back to their Gulbahar home.

" At each stage the ICRC is careful to verify information, to ensure that the family members are who they say they are, and that children are placed properly in the care of loved ones, " said Ezat Gul, the ICRC's tracing officer in Kabul. He concluded that " in the 14 years that the ICRC and our Afghan Red Crescent colleagues have been actively tracing family members in Afghanistan, we have reunited more than 300 people like Saif with their loved ones. That's good news for the families, and we feel proud to help in this important work. "

Even dark clouds can have a silver lining.