Rustam, his wife Maryam, and a 3-year-old son arrived in Ottawa as refugees from Afghanistan in late December.
In less than five months, Rustam, a doctor who served as a public health adviser to the Afghan government, is working on his long-term goal of obtaining a Canadian doctor’s license. The first milestone of that journey is working as a front-line worker on a night shift with the Shepherd of Good Hope.
“I applied for many jobs, and I finally got a reply from the Good Hope shepherd. They said,” What do you know? You need to come. It’s people’s job and you’ll love it, “he said.
“And they really need you. As a doctor, you are trained to help people. Your brain is wired that way.”
Rustam, who asked not to use his real name because it could endanger his family in Afghanistan, came to Ottawa because he and his wife were looking for a place to raise a family who also had the opportunity to work. Said that he chose.
In the early 2000s, Rustam worked as a Canadian journalist “fixer” in Afghanistan, not only acting as an interpreter for interviews, but also arranging meetings and confirming that the situation was safe.
He attended a medical school in China, and the language of instruction for international students was English. Upon returning to Afghanistan, Rustam worked as a family doctor at a health center, after which he moved to the position of government adviser. Mariam worked for an international non-profit organization focused on women’s education and empowerment.
Last year, their lives were becoming more and more dangerous. “Everything collapsed and we had to leave,” Rustam said.
“When the Taliban took over, they had information about her, especially about me. Our qualifications, history, and CV were in the hands of those we couldn’t trust.”
Rustam contacted a journalist friend and said Canada is working on a plan to evacuate Afghanistan with Canada.
The family was told to wait for a call from the Canadian Army. At midnight, before the scheduled departure, I received a message that the plan was canceled due to a warning of a terrorist attack. It turned out to be accurate — on August 26, a suicide bomber outside Kabul Airport killed 13 U.S. military personnel and at least 170 Afghans.
Rustam’s friends were working on another plan. In November, the family was one of the plane refugees chartered by journalists, human rights workers, and human rights journalists to evacuate their families. Their luggage consisted primarily of books and several souvenirs, including wedding photos.
The Charter took the refugees to Islamabad, Pakistan, where the family stayed in the guesthouse for about a month before being approved to come to Canada, arriving on December 21st.
This is the second time Rustam has had to leave Afghanistan. He lived in Pakistan for 13 years as a child.
“I don’t know what the fate of our country will be,” he said.
Mariam feels guilty about all the women left behind. “It was an educated Afghanistan and I was able to help them. It’s very painful.”
Rustam believes that with hard work, it will take at least four years to re-qualify as a doctor in Canada. He has already begun studying for exams that test not only his knowledge of science and medicine, but also his understanding of Canadian medical contexts such as health law.
“My short-term goal was to work in a place where I could” speak “medicine, whether it was social health or a social determinants of health. For example, I work as a receptionist in a clinic or in a place where I’m in contact with people, “he said.
The Shepherd of Good Hope works for newcomers and refugees through both application and Experica. Experica offers a 12-week unpaid placement that allows workers to gain experience in Canada.
For frontline positions, organizations aim to hire workers with a background in social work or human services.
“It’s important to have this kind of interpersonal skill,” she said.
The Good Hope Shepherd is at the epicenter of the Ottawa opioid crisis. Rustam started the shadow shift four weeks ago and admits that the first day was shocking. He didn’t expect to find so many drug addicts and homeless people in cities like Ottawa.
“But I realized that I could provide some help. In Afghanistan, drug addiction is also a problem.”
His first goal in his plan to become a doctor in Canada is to succeed in a health examination that tests his knowledge of science, medicine, and Canadian medical background.
Exams are notorious for being difficult. According to 2020-21 data from the Canadian Health Council, 64% of the 2,711 international medical graduates who took the exam passed the first trial. Of the 2,638 doctors newly enrolled by the University of Ontario Doctors and Surgeons in 2020, 291 were international graduates. Most of these people were trained in Saudi Arabia, Ireland, the United States, India and the United Kingdom.
“It’s not an easy path. It’s very difficult, but it’s not impossible,” Rustam said. “Take the exam and let the Canadian system decide if they want to take me.”
Rustam speaks five languages, including Mandarin, English, Persian, Pashto and Urdu. “Maybe I can work in a community with a lot of immigrants.”
For now, he’s happy to be here to work.
“Passing the first board exam opens more doors.”
The Afghan doctor and his family fled to Ottawa as refugees five months ago.He is already giving back
Source link The Afghan doctor and his family fled to Ottawa as refugees five months ago.He is already giving back