After a British woman gave them free accommodation in her apartment in Aberdeen, an Afghan family was able to flee the Taliban-controlled country.

Burhan Vesal (a former Afghan interpreter) and Narcis, his wife, both a physician, described their tears as they moved into Aberdeen with their 6-year-old son.

Helga Macfarlane was the family’s benefactor. Her mother, Helga, was a Silesian interpreter who connected the story to hers. Following fleeing Nazis, he was allowed to seek refuge in the UK. 

Burhan, 34, told ‘We have made our way from Afghanistan to our new flat in Aberdeen. 

‘It’s hard to put into words how it feels to give up all your dreams in Afghanistan and come to a new country to restart your life.

Burhan, Narcis and Sepehr Vesal (pictured: left to right) have a new home in Aberdeen, where they hope to start a new chapter, safe from the threat of Taliban reprisals

Burhan, Narcis and Sepehr Vesal (pictured: left to right) have a new home in Aberdeen, where they hope to start a new chapter, safe from the threat of Taliban reprisals 

The Afghan family stayed for four months in temporary accommodation, before being offered a lifeline by a British lady who connected with their story. Helga, their benefactor, is the daughter of a Silesian refugee who was given asylum in the UK, having worked as a translator for the British army in WW2

After four months of temporary housing, the Afghan family was offered help by a British woman who shared their story. Helga is their benefactor. Helga was the daughter, in fact, of a Silesian refugee. He had previously worked as a translator in the British army during WW2.

‘But luckily I have escaped being imprisoned or killed. Our happiness and security is what we feel. 

‘It’s been a long journey from Afghanistan to Aberdeen.

‘When we stepped inside our flat there were tears in our eyes.’ 

The Afghan family was airlifted from Kabul in Afghanistan in the last days of August 2021’s mass evacuation. They stayed for 4 months in London, then moved to the Arora Hotel in Crawley.

Sepehr, a six-year old, and the couple were originally offered a Peterborough house by the Home Office. However, this was cancelled at the very last minute.

The future looks bright for six-year-old Sepehr, now that his mother - a doctor - and his father - formerly a translator - have re-settled successfully from Afghanistan to Aberdeen

Sepehr (6 years old) is looking bright now that his mother (a doctor) and father (previously a translator), have settled in Aberdeen, Afghanistan.

Helga offered a flat for rent in Aberdeen via email to the Afghan family, who were already in temporary accommodation.   

’We have finally reached the end of the journey,’ Burhan said.

‘It feels really nice because being in the bridging hotel was not good.  

‘There were hundreds of families from everywhere with many different cultures, some of them were polite, some of them were impolite.

‘I was not worried for myself but for my son. Now we’re the lucky ones. We have a new home in a new area we love and we continue our lives in safety.’ 

After completing her training Burhan plans to work as a security guard. Narcis hopes to improve her English skills so that she can practice medicine in the UK.  

Helga saw an opportunity for her to repay the kindness of her Silesian mother nearly 80 years earlier, when she was granted refuge in Britain after having been a translator during World War Two.    

‘Helga is an example to the world,’ Burhan said. 

‘I’ve never met someone so kind and free-hearted as her. She proved that humanity is possible.  

Over 15,000 Afghans were evacuated from Afghanistan by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office during the Kabul airlift, from 15 August through the 30 August. 

Raphael Marshall (a former junior civil servant) detailed last week in a 39-page dossier how many desperate emails were sent by Afghans asking for airlifts out of Kabul.

Raphael, a whistle-blower, told the Commons foreign affairs committee that chronic staffing shortages at the department were compounded by colleagues working from home, refusing to work weekends and sticking to the culture of eight-hour shifts ‘despite the urgency’ of the situation.