After several years, the Afghan-Australian is being reunited with the children she has taken care of thousands of miles away at the orphanage she runs across Afghanistan.
Two weeks ago, 11 of the orphans were evacuated to Australia from some of the most dangerous and remote regions when the Taliban seized the war-torn country.
They were smuggled out of the country in cars and buses via land border crossings to Pakistan, after suicide bombings at Kabul airport forced Australia’s military evacuation flights to end.
Following the tireless efforts of Mrs Rawi’s charity Mahboba’s Promise, Australian volunteers and the federal government to provide them with emergency visas and on flights at Islamabad airport, the children landed safely in Australia in September.
Source: SBS News
Mrs Rawi is watching the orphans after completing their hotel quarantine in another Australian city.
As they come out of the airport arrival gate, the orphaned children kiss and hug one by one the woman they call their mother.
“Hello mom,” says a seven-year-old as Mrs. Rawi embraces her and the others through tears.
Eleven Afghan orphans are starting their new life in Australia
“It’s the happiest day of my life,” Ms Rawi told SBS News at the airport.
“It’s so good the kids are (sic) with me, I can not express my feelings.”
The children – nine girls and a boy – are given toy schools and kangaroos by their carers at the airport before heading to their new home.
‘The house was bare’
While the children played in their hotel rooms in another city, a group of volunteers had been busy preparing their rooms and their new houses.
In just two days, they managed to fully furnish the two separate homes following a local call for donations of new clothes, toys, beds, bedding and other essentials.
The day before the children arrived, volunteer Diana Wallis and a group of others were still busy collecting everything and unloading furniture donated by the community.
Source: SBS News
Ms Wallis said it was a big effort to get the homes ready for the children.
“A week ago, we did not even have the house,” she told SBS News.
“We had no beds – nothing – the house was completely bare.”
Mrs Rawi has applied to be a caregiver for six of them, most of them siblings. Her sister, Zarghouna, has given up her job as a pharmacist to receive the other four in a separate house nearby.
“They will be looked after by the community, not just me, by the Australian community, and we will bring them up as leaders for the world, not just for Australia,” Mrs Rawi said.
“We want to raise these children that the world will be proud of.”
The children are also excited about their future. Most of them are girls whose lives would have been very different during the Taliban, where girls over the age of 12 are apparently banned from school.
“I want to study,” one of the older girls tells SBS News about her plans.
“In Afghanistan, there was just war.”
The oldest in the group, Latifa, says she would like to study and become a journalist.
The 27-year-old had spent two decades at Mahboba’s Promise orphanage in Kabul after her paraplegic mother died when she was four.
“I’m so happy to be here, to be with my mother (Mrs Rawi),” Latifa said.
“I have a lot of plans, I really want to study.”
Latifa was smuggled out of Afghanistan through the Torkham border wearing a burqa in the back of a car with a couple of the children.
She said the journey was scary.
“The Taliban were everywhere near the border. I was very scared of them, and so were the children, ”said Latifa.
“But every time they saw a Taliban member and pointed them out, I just wanted to assure them that there was nothing to worry about.”
For Mrs. Rawi, this is the beginning of not just a new beginning for the children, but also a new chapter in her life.
She is about to take on the role of mother again, later in her life.
“I’m getting busy,” she says cheerfully.
“But the good thing is that tonight (for these kids) there are no suicide bombers, there are no fights, no war.
“The fridge is full of food and the house is comfortable.”
Watch the TV story on SBS World News at 18.30.