We Are Resilient: Ahmed Mohamed
November 15, 2016

Ahmed Mohamed    

Resilient Refugee             

Somalian-born Ahmed Mohamed is a security officer in Canada. True, it’s a stereotype that immigrants tend to fill security jobs, but to Ahmed, his work is a stable, respectable position that is helping him to build a safe new life in Canada just three years after arriving as a government-sponsored refugee.

The 27-year-old had been living in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the largest in the world, since he was three years old after his parents fled the brutal civil war in Somalia. “At Dadaab, life was very difficult, with inadequate resources for basic human requirements, scorching heat — 37 degrees Celsius daily — and limited freedom of mobility,” Ahmed says.

“Frankly, life there was kind of like a jail. So I felt so happy and excited when accepted as a refugee to Canada. It was the country that most people in the refugee camp wished to go.”

So working as a security officer in his new country, even on the graveyard shift, is a welcome opportunity to Ahmed.

It is also helping him build a foundation here for his wife, Asha, and five-month-old daughter, Suham, who are still in Kenya, as they await their family sponsorship application to be approved. “I am confident they will land in Canada as permanent residents soon,” he says with hopefulness. Ahmed and Asha had met at Dadaab one year prior to his coming to Canada and they kept in touch. He went back to Africa in 2015 for three months during which time they got married. “Now we communicate daily and she sends me new pictures of our daughter on a weekly basis.”

Ahmed’s security job has also inspired his dreams to one day work in law enforcement. “I have in mind the dream of being a law enforcement officer particularly in policing,” he says. “Every time I attend a meeting for newcomers organized by the community or the police force, they encourage the need for minority people to join the force and this accelerates my hopes and dreams.”

Ahmed attends quite a few of these kinds of meetings, as he’s a regular volunteer in his community of Surrey. “My volunteer work involves being an active member of the Somali Youth Association of B.C., where I’m involved in mobilizing youth, organizing outdoor and indoor soccer games, and welcoming new Somali immigrants to Surrey by helping them to integrate, find jobs and provide translation when necessary.”

When not at work or volunteering, you might find Ahmed happily kicking a soccer ball on one of the local Newton soccer fields. He plays with an adult league team called Somali Stars.  

While coming to a new country as a refugee can be a huge culture shock, Ahmed has taken a positive approach to the daunting transition. “Canada is a country of opportunity that has given me a chance to change my life for the better,” he says.

“It will be my first country to issue me legal documents that will provide me equal freedom and rights like other Canadian citizens. God bless Canada and the Canadian people for the warm welcome they showed to me from my landing days until today.”