From Asylum Seeker to Canadian Resident: A Somali Refugee’s Journey to Settle in Medicine Hat, Alberta

by | Mar 12, 2023 | News

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Asad Abukar is a Somali refugee who settled in Medicine Hat, Alberta, in 2021 after being an asylum seeker for many years. He finally came to Canada as a government-sponsored refugee through the UNHCR. After living in Medicine Hat for some time, Asad spoke to the CT Somali program, which focuses on Somali people in Canada. He discussed his initial feelings when he learned he would settle in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

“When I first heard that I’m going to Canada, especially in Medicine Hat, I couldn’t understand because of the word “Medicine,” I thought they meant that I needed a medical, but later they told me that it’s the name of the city I’m settling,” he said.

Medicine Hat is a city in southeast Alberta, Canada, along the South Saskatchewan River. It is approximately 169 km east of Lethbridge and 295 km southeast of Calgary. Although it is home to a tiny Somali community, it is close to Brooks, Alberta, where a large Somali community lives and works.

Asad has lived in many countries, including Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, and Libya. However, he is now focusing on his new life in Canada and is determined to improve his English and obtain an excellent job to support his family. When asked if he would move to the big cities where many of his community members live, he said he loved Medicine Hat and wished to stay and bring his family there.

“This city is beautiful and quiet. I’m not going anywhere. I want to bring my family here,” he said.

Asad has expressed gratitude to the Canadian government and the people of Canada for allowing him to come and live in this beautiful country. He also praised the CT Somali program based in Medicine Hat as the best program for Somalis to watch or contribute to.

CT Somali is a volunteer-based platform that supports Somali newcomers in Canada. The program is run and managed by a former Somali journalist living in Alberta since 2011. What sets this program apart from other Somali non-profits in Canada is that all programs are conducted in the Somali language. This is because the target audience is primarily those who have recently come to Canada and may have little or no English language skills.

Asad’s story is just one of many that demonstrate the challenges and successes of Somali refugees and immigrants in Canada. Through the CT Somali program and similar initiatives, these individuals can learn about Canadian culture, language, and resources while contributing to their new communities.


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