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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NAFISSA'S STORY

Biography of Nafi Nassim

Nafi Nassim was born in Kabul January 16, 1949. She studied and became a nurse in her home country. She was granted a scholarship from the French government, enabling her to complete her training in Lyon from 1970 to 1972. Nafi Nassim then worked as a trained nurse in Iran; this is where she was informed of the communist State Coup in Afghanistan in February of 1978.

Back in Afghanistan, she was confronted with the disappearance of her husband, imprisoned and tortured. The 1979 Soviet intervention made the Afghan government all the more repressive: Nafi’s brother disappeared, her son was taken by force to the USSR to be trained as a diesel engine specialist, at the age of 14.

Life in Kabul becoming unbearable for her and her family, Nafissa decided to leave clandestinely in March 1981 with her 13-year-old daughter for Teheran. Once her daughter was safe with good friends there, she later undertook a second clandestine trip from Teheran to Kabul to go and get her mother and then from Kabul to Teheran, smuggling herself again between the Soviet army checkpoints.

Stopped at the Iran border by the Iranian army she was imprisoned. Free after a few days, she remained clandestinely in Iran for 7 months, healing the wounded people from the Iran/Irak war, until she finally was granted political asylum in France in the fall of 1981.

She resumed her studies to be a nurse as the Afghan degree was no longer recognized by the French educational system and finally obtained her State Registered Nurse Degree.

She had just obtained her degree when she left once more, this time to go and get her son who in the meantime had been enrolled by force into the communist Afghan army. She worked during two painstaking years in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan to be able to lead her investigations with the help of the Afghan Mujahiddin.

She managed to enter Afghanistan once again, clandestinely, in 1988 where she retrieved her son, helped him desert the army with the help of anti-soviet resistance people, to finally go to Pakistan and then on to France in October 1989.

Nafissa became a French citizen in January 1997.

This part of her own history is retraced in her book entitled “From Kabul to Marseilles” (translated in German and Czech language but unfortunately not available in English).

Settled as a SRN in Marseilles she returned to Afghanistan as soon as the Talibans were defeated and since then, almost every year, continues to contribute and help the Afghan population.

She has participated in many conferences and meetings in France, speaking her own voice and vision of an Afghanistan rid of any fundamentalism or ethnic privilege.

In 2005 she founded, with a few friends, the association « Solidarit√© Provence Afghanistan » whose objective is to help the most unprivileged Afghans and raise awareness on the Afghan culture in France. This association is presently composed of 90 members in Marseilles and surroundings. This Non Governmental Organization is especially intended to help in Afghanistan onsite, particularly schools through bringing pencils, pens, writing books etc as well as the most unprivileged families through bringing first need goods such as rice, soap, matches, oil, sugar, tea etc.

The association raises funds in South of France through the organization of Afghan music, meals, attire shows of various provinces. Upon request Nafi Nassim speaks for school teachers and pupils presenting them with the political situation in Afghanistan and women’s condition.

The association Solidarit√© Provence Afghanistan, chaired by Nafi, is a Non Governmental Organization helping populations without taking a direct political side. As most French NGO's, Solidarit√© Provence Afghanistan is not inclined either for or against the occidental military presence; we do not wish to substitute for the government authority or the Parliament. In any case, help for the population is necessary. Of course a country cannot evolve without a minimum security which is not possible without development and respect of the populations. NGOs’ first goal is a help to the development of Afghanistan.

Nafi Nassim, with her friend Sylvie Orsoni, also wrote a cooking book of Afghan receipes entitled « Parfums et couleurs de la cuisine afghane » Editions de l’Aube, unfortunately not available in English.

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Residing Bloomington, Indiana for twenty years, my life is about all people living created lives. I am a four book contracted fiction writer, a thirty-five year graduate of the work of transformation with Landmark Education and est, and I love my life, my fantastic daughter, Rudi and my ex-husband, Keith.