Welcome! Read the latest issue of PROGRESS, featuring inclusive programming in Virginia. Read PROGRESS

How War Changes Life

by Pooja Kapoor

On the Russia and Ukraine war, February 24, 2022: Lots of innocent people are dying – soldiers are dying and kids.

During the 1979-1989 war in Afghanistan, my parents were living there. Many other Hindus were living there as well. Since the current Russia-Ukraine war began, everyone started to evacuate the country, as they did from Afghanistan during that war. There was always a curfew in the city and nobody could leave their house. Everything was closed. My parents were always hiding in the basement because of bombs.

Eventually, we had to run for our lives. We left the country without clothes, food, or money. We went to India, welcomed by other Hindus. We stayed in refugee camps in northern India and New Delhi. We were there for several months. All our friends and family had to go to different countries. I was about six years old when this happened, and I was with my sisters and brother. We were given food and money while in the camp, and my uncle in Germany helped us settle there. As a small child, I felt very sad when this happened. We were moving around, and I could not get any education. I had no friends during this time. My clothes were those discarded by others.

When my mom talks about everything, it always makes me cry. I feel sad about whatever is happening right now in Ukraine. It reminds me of my old days. What we go through no one will understand. We were refugees in different countries. Finally, I have one home, the USA. This country changed my life. It gave me education, work, and a home.

My uncle encouraged us to apply for German asylum. This would give us identification and protection under their government. My parents lived in fear every day, but we were finally granted asylum … after ten years. I was sixteen. I was then able to go to school, and my parents entered me into an arranged marriage at age 20. We had a son in 2009, and I came to the United States.

I am glad that my family and I are still alive.