The Duchess of York has expressed her hope that Afghan refugees can begin to build new lives.
Sarah Ferguson took to Instagram to reveal details of her trip to Albania, where she met with hundreds of refugees.
Sarah was invited by IsraAID, an Israeli NGO that provides international humanitarian help, to the Eastern European country, which has provided a safe haven to many who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban occupied it.
“I had the privilege of meeting these extraordinary people and listening to their stories,” Fergie wrote in the caption of a series of images.
Her first stop was a refugee camp in Golem, Albania, where she was welcomed by an Afghan poet named Mohammad Zaria, who read her a poem about peace that he had written specially for her.
Fergie then met “friendly and kind people” and spent some time listening to their stories.
She shared stories of young men and women who have been separated from their families in a desperate bid to flee to safety.
“Fatima, a star of the all-girls national cycling team of Afghanistan, with Samim and Mujtaba, two university friends, as well as Beheshte and 14-year-old Iqbal, the daughter of the mayor of [Afghan city] Kunduz were separated from their father and family who remain in Afghanistan,” Fergie wrote.
“They have no idea where their final destination will be.”
She also shared the story of two doctors who had to leave family members behind.
“Sepideh and Masi were top doctors in Herat, Afghanistan. The couple, together with their baby, were supposed to be evacuated from Afghanistan months ago with Sepideh’s mother, sister and brother.
“But [Sepideh's family] were unable to break through the crowds outside the airport, watching helplessly as their family was pulled onto a flight.”
Pictures show Fergie embracing some of the refugees and enjoying a meal with others. In one picture she holds the hands of a young girl and boy as they stand on what appears to be a bed with plates of food and drinks in front of them.
The 62-year-old celebrated those who were brave enough to speak out against the extremist group.
“Halima is the wife of a well-known private publisher in Kabul, who dared to print books critical of both the Taliban and corruption in the government,” she wrote alongside a picture of her hugging Halima.
To end off her posts, Fergie thanked the Canadian government for their “generosity and kindness” in accepting refugees for resettlement in the country.
“I pray these good people can build new homes somewhere in this world,” she added.
“And live new lives in safety.”
It’s the first time she’s posted since her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, drew backlash after he used her Instagram account to reflect on his experience of fighting in the Falklands.
In the since-deleted post, Andrew wrote that his days as a Sea King pilot in the conflict, in which he was once shot at, have left him a changed man.
The 700-word post was signed off with the words: Written by HRH The Duke of York.
The last line drew criticism as the prince had been stripped of his honorary military roles by Queen Elizabeth and willingly gave up his HRH title in the fallout from the civil case brought forward against him by Virginia Giuffre. The case has since been settled out of court.
Royal author Robert Jobson says he was left baffled by Andrew’s Falklands statement.
“The Duke of York’s bizarre decision to try to bolster his own image by waffling on about his Falklands war experiences on his ex-wife’s Instagram account, and also use the HRH title that has been stripped from him, to sign off was an odd move.”
Jobson argues that if Andrew’s goal was a last-ditch effort to earn the public’s forgiveness and make a comeback, it was an epic fail.
“Even if the queen has forgiven her favourite son and believes in him, powerful figures in the palace corridors haven’t. Nor have the public.”
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, mirror.co.uk, express.co.uk, geo.tv