Our communities team have been flying kites of hope for Afghans in Inverness.

Farkhonda and Yalda, two of our Community Development Officers, visited High Life Highland in Inverness to attend a kite-making workshop with the Afghan community resettled in the Highlands. Kite-flying plays an important role in Afghan culture, and is an 800-year old tradition.

Farkhonda and Yalda are both from Afghanistan themselves, and have been working with Scottish Refugee Council since early 2022, providing information to newly arrived Afghans in Scotland. They are now working more closely with New Scots women.

After attending the kite-making workshop, which was originally scheduled as part of Refugee Festival Scotland, they reflected on the situation for Afghan families resettled in the Highlands.

There are a small number of Afghan families living in Inverness and the surrounding areas. High Life Highlands supports these families with events and excursions, such as visits to the beach and horse riding, aswell as vital ESOL classes. Language classes are particularly appreciated, especially by women who were unable to study before they came to Scotland.

Unfortunately, due to the weather, only two families made it to the kite-making event.

The weather is the least of people’s worries, though. There are no mosques, they can’t find halal food, and it’s difficult to get childcare for large families who have five or six children. Some families are very remote and struggling to connect with any community or local services.

People are enterprising, though. One person we spoke to is keen to set up a halal food business, if he can get financial support. Many of the women are interested in sewing classes and workshops. High Life Highland, and other groups in the area, are doing everything they can.

But it is challenging. Small, rural communities, no matter how welcoming, don’t have the infrastructure in place to support people’s needs.

Kite-flying won’t resolve these challenges, but it may offer some hope, respite and much-needed connection.

Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah