Abdul Qadir Babakarkhel
“Born in Afghanistan in 1966, I am the proud father of three children, and have an adorable grandchild.
I studied and worked in Afghanistan until 1993 when I had to flee the country because of the war. In search of a safe place for my family and myself, I ended up in the Netherlands, where I had to rebuild my life from scratch at the age of 27.
As a married man with two children, having to start all over in a new environment was the biggest challenge of my life. I had lost all my possessions in Afghanistan and didn’t speak a word of Dutch.
As the famous saying goes, “a person without language is half a person.” So the first thing I did was to learn Dutch. Besides learning the language, I had to earn a living, so studying and working were the only two things I did for the first two years. I was working and studying 16 hours a day on average.
After getting my family’s finances under control, I studied IT system management for two years before directing the ICT department of a Dutch company for three years.
Between 2003 and 2006 I was mostly in Afghanistan where, among other things, I worked for a short period as an advisor for the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development via IOM’s Return of Qualified Afghans programme.
I then returned to Europe where in addition to my full-time job, I completed various training courses, including project management and auditing. I went on to hold senior managerial positions at major firms in both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom until 2016 when I decided to take an early retirement.
After many years of hard work outside of my country of origin, I decided to return to Afghanistan in September 2018. I did this through the Dutch-funded IOM project Connecting Diaspora for Development. My wish is to contribute to the reconstruction of this beautiful country that I love very much.”