The kindness of strangers

kindness of strangers

Bushra Alkhafaji and her daughter Nada are New Zealand citizens who arrived in Iran in February for an annual trip, with flights paid for by Bushra’s Iran-based daughters.

On a short visit to Isfahan during the holiday, Iran announced inter-city travel restrictions so Bushra and Nada were separated from relatives and had to find temporary accommodation.

15-year-old Nada told TVNZ that they were unable to go out: “and it’s pretty dangerous, and this coronavirus is kind of getting out of hand, and we’re running out of money.

We’re unable to afford a place to stay at soon, and we’re unable to afford warmth, food.”

A community effort to get the two women back home to Wellington was set up by TVNZ employee Hamed Taghadosi, who saw the story, and Jonathan Cutts,

Cutts belongs to St Hilda’s Anglican Church, where Ms Alkhafaji is a cleaner for a couple of hours a week.

St Hilda’s Anglican Church is in Island Bay Wellington.

Cutts recognised her in the TVNZ item.

He felt called to help Bushra, and through a series of providential connections —Hamed, a travel agent; and Sahra, Bushra’s elder daughter—he created a Givealittle page for her.

However, Givealittle takes a month to pay out crowd funders, and Bushra’s need was much more immediate than that.

Cutts approached the leadership of St Hilda’s, asking them to underwrite the page so that the travellers could come home as soon as possible.

Through the church’s Barnabas Fund, for people who need emergency relief, the church was able to help. The Givealittle page was created on Monday, April 13.

“By about 1 am that night—I was staying up late looking at it—people had given a thousand dollars,” Jonathan says.

Jonathan used social media connections to help promote the Givealittle page.

Donations reached more than $8000 in just two days.

Three days after the Givealittle page was started, Bushra and Nada left Tehran on Qatar Airways, the only carrier still operating out of the country.

Through the kindness of strangers, they arrived in Auckland,  after a layover in Qatar.

They were quarantined in a hotel in Auckland until May 2.


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