An Iranian driver whose truck broke down in Poland has been helped to return home after a crowdfunding campaign brought in 242,000 zloty (around 57,000 euro) to help fix his vehicle.
Fardin Kazemi was delivering raisins to Poland when his vehicle – a 30-year-old American International 9670 – broke down on 3 December, reports Polsat News. This left Kazemi stranded in Koziegłowy, a small town in Silesia, 5,400 kilometres away from his wife and children back in the Iranian city of Khoy.
News of his difficulties started to spread among Polish truck drivers, who began organising help with fixing the vehicle. “So far from home, without friends, without anyone – it is obvious that it is good to help,” said mechanic Piotr Klimas. A Persian translator from the nearby city of Częstochowa was brought in to help communicate with Kazemi.
In the meantime, Kazemi continued to live out of the truck. “He is so attached to it that he doesn’t want to leave,” said Tomasz Doniec, the main organiser of the campaign to help the Iranian get home.
However, the problems with the engine proved more serious than first thought. Although not impossible to fix, the costs and time involved made it unfeasible. And so, instead, a crowdfunding campaign was launched to buy a second-hand tractor unit for Kazemi.
The appeal – hosted on popular Polish crowdfunding site Zrzutka – set a target of 99,000 zloty. Following a huge show of support, that amount was raised in less than 24 hours, and the total has now reached almost 240,000 zloty.
Other offers of support have also poured in. One customs agency, for example, has offered to help prepare the necessary paperwork, says Doniec.
Coś naprawdę fajnego. – Nie mówiliśmy o szczegółach mojej mamie, żeby się nie przejmowała. Myśli, że jestem w pracy – mówi Fardin.https://t.co/GLzDwFQyEg
— Marek Twaróg (@MarekTwarog) December 18, 2019
“The Poles have been angels for me; their help is a miracle of God,” Kazemi told local newspaper Dziennik Zachodni.
“I have travelled all over Europe for 27 years…[but] so far have not had the opportunity to get to know Poles better. Now it turns out that they are wonderful people, and it is difficult to believe their help,” said Kazemi, who also wished the people of Poland a merry Christmas.
Despite the success of the fundraiser, the organisers hit an unexpected snag. In response to UN sanctions, Iran has imposed an embargo on certain goods from the European Union, including lorries, reports Polsat News. Daniec says they are seeking the consent of the Iranian authorities to bypass the embargo, and have had support from the Iranian consul in Poland.
The latest reports, published in Dziennik Zachodni on Wednesday, indicate that Doniec and Kazemi are going ahead with buying a truck – a 2017 DAF, because Iran only allows foreign vehicles to be registered if they are less than three years old.
Main image credit: zrzutka.pl
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland and assistant professor of history at the Pedagogical University of Krakow. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, The Independent and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.