One day, our jeep overturned in what seemed like the middle of nowhere [Yiannis Yiannakopoulos]

I am a member of Doctors of the World and I wanted to produce a documentary on some of the people who volunteer for the organisation. Somebody told me I had to meet Qadir, one of the most committed volunteers.

Qadir came to Greece as a refugee after the Taliban invaded his home town, Mazar-e-Sharif, in 1998.

The Taliban imprisoned 17-year-old Qadir along with other students from his town.

A month later when he was released, he found his family missing and his house in ruins.

Qadir fled Afghanistan and for two years travelled through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey on foot, before arriving in Greece on a plastic boat.

The country is destroyed and is trying to reconstruct itself [Yiannis Yiannakopoulos]
In Athens, Qadir was helped by Doctors of the World and soon, determined to return the kindness and hospitality shown to him, he started to work as a volunteer for the organisation.

For two years he helped out in any way he could - he took computer classes and then began to teach some of the other immigrants the skills he had learnt, he worked as a translator and took on manual tasks.

And when a hostel for female victims of trafficking was closed, Qadir provided the most needy with shelter in his own home.

Qadir had made such an important contribution to the organisation that they decided to employ him.

When I met him, Qadir had been in Greece for seven years - he had a steady job, social security, a passport, a residence permit and many friends. However, he had never given up hope of finding his family.

He was determined to return to Afghanistan to find them, despite the dangers such a journey might entail.

I decided to accompany Qadir on his journey, not only as a filmmaker but as a friend.

I was fascinated by his story - one he always told with a smile and without a hint of self-pity - and I knew that accompanying Qadir in his quest to find his family would provide an opportunity to discover a world completely unknown to me.

Before we set off, I read many books on Afghanistan and learnt about the country's rich culture and turbulent past.

 I met remarkable women who are actively engaged in politics [Yiannis Yiannakopoulos]
I knew that Afghanistan was a beautiful country but I also understood that it would be very difficult for me, as a woman, to adjust to some of the cultural restrictions placed on women in the country.

But I wanted to be able to show a "different Afghanistan" - a country that has survived 30 years of war and that is struggling to find peace. For that, I was prepared to respect the customs of the country and even don a burkha, which I did.

Our journey was not easy. One day as we were driving through vast, empty land in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, our jeep overturned, breaking our camera and injuring our cameraman.

Every day we would hear reports of Taliban attacks and 80 people were killed in a suicide bombing nearby.

We were even mistaken for terrorists and arrested after locals grew suspicious of us filming in Qadir's home town and called the police.

Once the head of counter-terrorism and the head of the intelligence service in Mazar-e-Sharif were satisfied that we posed no security threat, we were allowed to leave but only, in true Afghan style, after we had shared lunch with them.

During our time in Afghanistan, I witnessed the country's ever-changing social and political climate. I met remarkable women who are actively engaged in politics and carving an increasingly independent role for themselves. I met warm, kind, humorous people and I was privileged to witness a son's joy at re-finding his mother after years apart.

Qadir can be seen on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 1400GMT with repeats at 0600GMT and 1900GMT on Monday, and at 0300GMT on Tuesday.

Source: Al Jazeera