Today we were visiting Hibaq Gelle and Ayan Yusuf at the Community Action Resource Centre on Keele St. to discuss the challenges that Somali newcomers face when they arrive in Canada, and to learn about the great work that is being done at the centre to help support Toronto’s Somali Community.
Hibaq and Ayan are both passionate about telling positive stories from the Somali Community and fans of our documentary about the life of Somali political artist Amin Amir. When we told the pair about our new film, Sweepstakes, they were both genuinely enthusiastic about the project. They see the film as an opportunity to share one of the many truly uplifting stories about Somali families who came to Canada in the early 1990’s.
In Hibaq’s opinion people need to know about the Somali experience
“People don’t know who we are, how and why we came to the country, and what our experiences were. Even the younger members of our own community don’t know. It is important for people to know that when our community members came here they struggled, they came with literally nothing and they persevered.”
Hibaq believes, and so do we, that this is a story that needs to be shared with the broader public.
Ayan sees sharing this story as a way to foster unity among different groups of Somali-Canadians and grow as a community. “Unity as a community is an important part of moving forward in Canada.
“Unity as a community is an important part of moving forward in Canada.”
Somehow someway we need to put our differences aside and help each other as common Somali’s. This is what I hope to see happen before I die. That is why sharing common stories and narratives that all Somali’s can relate to is so important. Because these stories have to power to foster unity among Somali’s and this will help the community grow and be successful.”