Abdiyo Aden Ali: The newcomer who spreads joy

“When I came to Canada, my biggest happiness was when I was welcomed by David (Peterson) and the RAP (Resettlement Assistance Program) team, along with the interpreter, Abdalla,” says Abdiyo Aden Ali.  

Abdiyo fled a war-torn Somalia with her family in 2006 and sought asylum in the UNHCR camp at Debaab Refugee Complex in Kenya, where they spent 15 years full of hardships. Abdiyo lost one of her legs at a bombing incident in her home country, contributing to her misery. In November 2020, she got a chance for a new beginning when she was welcomed to Canada as a Government Assisted Refugee. 

Moving amid the COVID-19 pandemic extended the resettlement process. It took about six weeks, involving moving to permanent accommodation, fulfilling immediate needs such as food, groceries, school admissions, and guiding around the city to complete the resettlement process with the RAP team. 

“David gave me Katie, and that is when I felt settled,” says Abdiyo, referring to her settlement counsellor, Katie Pierce.  

Abdiyo joined LINC Classes (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) to build her technological and language skills. She quickly became a valuable addition to the class, lightening the atmosphere and making her classmates cheerful. 

Abdiyo looks on the bright side, despite having a dark past. She greets everyone around her with a huge smile, and there is never a dull moment around her. Her greatest strength is her sense of humour, which keeps her going through the day.  Coming to her LINC classes and frequently meeting people at the Y helped her build a healthy social life, build camaraderie and support her mental health. 

“This organization treated me equally. They do not see any colour and are always ready to help,” says Abdiyo. “I see people from all over the world moving here, and there is no discrimination here. This organization helps me with anything.”  

When she moved to Canada, Abdiyo’s troubles with the prosthetic leg provided to her after she initially lost the leg had reached a critical stage. This prosthetic leg was improperly sized, bulky and old, which led to multiple complications. Additionally, she had various other health issues due to neglect calling for urgent medical care. Abdiyo’s dedication and patience, along with a year full of hospital visits, home visits, scans, referrals, and taxi rides, with some assistance from the Newcomer Connections Health Liaison, paid off when she finally received a new custom-made prosthetic. 

“Amani is the first person who provided me with all the help for my health,” says Abdiyo appreciating the Health Liaison, Amani Abdulhadi. 

Abdiyo loves living in Saint John for its peaceful and independent life. She appreciates the kind and helpful nature of Saint Johners. In the future, Abdiyo wants to see her children succeed in life and graduate from a university. 

In the future, Abdiyo would love to see her children pursue further education and graduate from a university. She wants to see them succeed and build on their lives in Canada. 

“For myself, I just want happiness in my life.” 

Abdiyo Aden Ali