A family reunited

Four years ago Daryosh was 33 years old, married with a son and living in Iran. Iranian police beat him for demonstrating against government restrictions and he was left with a broken spine and became a quadriplegic. After a year in hospital, Daryosh was due to be jailed but he fled his country with his 11 year old son, Ali, leaving his wife behind because they could not afford for everyone to go. Father and son ended up in Indonesia, then Christmas Island, then Darwin before being transferred to Canberra.

I have a family friend who is retired and has worked for many years at the Migrant and Refugee Resource Centre in Canberra. A year or so ago, he was asked to take Daryosh to a medical appointment and he has been helping Daryosh and Ali ever since. Now 15, Ali provides constant care for his father and does the shopping, cooking, washing and cleaning as well as attending school himself. They speak to their wife/mother every day on the phone.

I am often astonished by the kindness of parents, parishioners, staff and students in our Catholic schools for those less fortunate. Many people are like Daryosh; suffering grief, loneliness, pain or worry, often silently. In our schools, our students often lead the way with fundraising for Catholic Missions, St Vincent de Paul or helping out a child or family in need. At our school, our ‘Mini Vinnies’ is well attended and does a great job supporting the St Vincent de Paul Society in our local parish. Pope John Paul II said that, “The Christian message is proclaimed most powerfully in selfless acts of love.”

Earlier this year Daryosh had surgery on his spinal cord in Canberra Hospital, and he has just received an electric scooter as part of an Australian Government program. Further, after much lobbying from my family friend, Daryosh’s wife has just been granted a visa and will be joining her family in Canberra.

Most of us go home to warm beds and homes, with food on the table and love and support. Many of us do not see, first hand, the families in our community who are doing it hard. My friend helps Daryosh because he finds it rewarding and because he knows Daryosh needs it. We’re all busy but any small contribution to help people less fortunate can make a real difference.