Leaving Liberia: My Family's Refugee Story

    March 13, 2019

    By Badou Edgar Khan

    I came to this country with just ten dollars in my pocket, worked hard, and climbed up the socio-economic ladder to build a meaningful life for my family.

    This familiar ‘rags to riches’ story may be a bit cliché—and mostly on point—but I know, as an immigrant, that the experience of thriving within a new country is usually more complex, especially for refugees and forced migrants.

    My name is Badou Edgar Khan. I was born in Liberia, West Africa. When I immigrated to the United States from Liberia in the 1980s, I left my family with the hope of advancing my education. My father, who worked for the Organization of African Unity (OAU) mission to the United Nations, had a plan to send me to high school in New York. He provided me $3,500 to subsidize my education, housing, and food. And when my father returned home after helping me get settled, I was fortunate to have a strong support system in my home country that brought me solace. 

    Then, everything changed. What started as a small uprising in Liberia became a full-fledged civil war. By July 1990, Charles Taylor and his rebel forces breached the capital Monrovia, my home town. I lost track of my family and my world began to unravel.

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    My Family's Refugee Story

    December 21, 2018

    By Hussein Allidina

    In 1972, my mother, grandmother, aunts and uncles were among more than 80,000 Asians living in Uganda who were forcibly displaced by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

    Gripped by fear and uncertainty, my family saw their lives as prosperous farmers and business owners crumble before their eyes. In a matter of weeks, my mother and her three sisters fled for Canada. My grandmother and uncle were relocated to a refugee camp in Italy before settling in Canada years later.

    I cannot imagine how vulnerable my mother must have felt as she navigated an unfamiliar country on an entirely different continent. And yet, when my mom looks back at that time, she tells a more uplifting story — a story of gratitude; gratitude for the many Canadians, including neighbors, community members and people at the local mosque, who provided the lifesaving support that she needed to start over.

    Lily, June,Yasmin.jpg
    My aunts with their caseworker in the winter
    of 1972 when they arrived in Canada.
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