Persecuted in Saudi Arabia Orphans of Somali Origin Find Hope in Winnipeg


The children moved between hiding places in Saudi Arabia before the Canadian government processed a private sponsorship allowing them to come to Winnipeg. CBC

Somalilandsun: Under sponsorship of the Winnipeg Hospitality House Refugee Ministry and the Anglican Diocese of Rupert’s Land that helped them escape Saudi Arabia, where they have been hiding for months under the threat of deportation some of the 11 orphaned siblings have started schooling.

The family of 11 siblings — one of them an 18-month-old baby — travelled from Saudi Arabia and touched down at Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport on Jan. 14. The children range in age from eight to 16.

Their arrival follows a long story of fear, sadness and ultimately, survival.

The children’s father worked at the Somali consulate in Jeddah when they were born in Saudi Arabia, but when he died of natural causes — the same way their mother died — the orphans were stripped of their legal status, making it illegal for them to stay in the country.

At that time, the children’s documents were confiscated, too.

Knowing they did not speak the language in Somalia, where there is civil anarchy and their survival was unlikely, the children moved between hiding places in Saudi Arabia before Canada’s government processed the private sponsorship.

But if it wasn’t for their oldest brother, Canada may have never learned of their plight.

As a 16-year-old, he managed to travel from Saudi Arabia to the Emerson border crossing, walking all the way to Winnipeg, where he made a successful asylum claim.

That was in October 2014 and ever since, his priority has been to get the rest of his family to the country and finally reunited on Jan. 14 it is only excitement for some at their first day in School. Continue reading