The Circle

A young Muslim couple have helped lift 51 Afghans out of poverty in honour of the 51 Christchurch mosque attack victims.

Fifth-year University of Canterbury civil and global humanitarian engineering student Bariz Shah, 25, and his photographer wife, Saba Afrasyabi, 23, had already planned their project when the March 15 terror attack took place. 

Bariz arrived in New Zealand as a child from Pakistan in August 2001 and met Afrasyabi in 2012 on a visit to his former home. They were both raised in Pakistan after their families fled war-torn Afghanistan, which they still consider their homeland. 

They returned to Christchurch this month after spending three months in Kabul and Jalalabad equipping 51 people with the means to earn a living through their own micro-enterprises. 

Beneficiaries of the couple’s project include a teenager who was trying to support his large family after his father became a drug addict, a mother whose husband was killed in a suicide bomb attack, and a disabled man forced to walk 6 kilometres on crutches every day to run his small shop. 

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