Gazal* is 10 years old and in third grade. Her request for asylum in Sweden has been rejected, so she is likely to be sent back to Afghanistan with her family. She lives with her mother, father, brother and sister in a small village in northern Sweden. They are from the Afghan capital Kabul and arrived in Sweden four years ago.

“It is better here than in Afghanistan,” Gazal says. “Here, we can go to school and play.”

Gazal likes school, her favourite subject is maths and learning Swedish has been quite easy for her. Many of her friends, also living in temporary accommodation from the Swedish Migration Agency, are from Afghanistan, but they usually speak Swedish to each other to learn the language together.

“I help new people who don’t know the language,” Gazal says. “But I don’t translate and speak for them, they have to learn themselves.”

The family is now waiting to hear back from the authorities regarding the application to stay for Gazal’s little sister. The rest of the family have all been rejected asylum and have through all the appeals possible already. Her one-year old sister was born in Sweden while the family was waiting for decisions on asylum.

“I give her food if she wants some,” Gazal says about her baby sister, “and I put the duvet on her when she sleeps. I sleep next to her sometimes, but she wakes up and cries.”

Gazal often goes to the library close to school. And she likes books with pictures in, like the books about Pippi Longstocking.


She listens to Indian music a lot and watches Indian music videos. She likes dancing and singing and would like to be a singer when she grows up.


*Name has been changed.

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