“I want to do this interview in English” Fawzia happily stated. “I have been attending English classes, and now I can speak it with no problem,” she told us, smiling.
“When I arrived to Canada for the first time, I didn’t know English. Life was very hard, and the winter was so cold, but now I have adjusted. You know, in life you have to learn to adjust to the situation that you find yourself in.”
Fawzia and her daughter were resettled to Canada in 2013, where Fawzia is now living independently and working as a caretaker. Fawzia met RefugePoint in 2011 after she had fled from her home country of Somalia. In Somalia, Fawzia’s home was raided, and her parents and siblings were murdered. Fawzia sustained severe injuries during the attack and was separated from her daughter at that time. She assumed that her daughter, like her other family members, had died.
Fawzia sought refuge in Kakuma refugee camp, where, miraculously, she was reunited with her daughter. After spending one year in the camp, Fawzia and her daughter moved to Nairobi, in hopes of accessing the medical care necessary to address Fawzia’s ongoing medical conditions.
Like many women refugees, war and flight left Fawzia injured, and thrown into the role as the head of household. She found it difficult to support herself and her daughter, experiencing homelessness and hunger.
Tragically, as is also the case for so many of our female clients, Fawzia’s daughter was sexually assaulted at a very young age. In addition to providing the basic staples of food, rent, medical support, school enrollment, and life skills training, RefugePoint also offered counseling support to Fawzia and her daughter, to deal with the trauma of the sexual assault. Fawzia and her daughter continued to face insecurities and were referred for resettlement.
In 2013, Fawzia and her daughter were given a chance to begin new lives, in safety, in Canada. Given that only 1% of refugees have the opportunity to access resettlement, there are many more women and girls like Fawzia and her daughter who remain stuck in dangerous situations. For the refugees who do not have the option of resettlement, RefugePoint works to stabilize them in the countries to which they have fled by helping them to advance, socially and economically.
Once resettled to Canada, Fawzia received assistance for just one year. “I am a very fast learner, you know? And after one year I became independent and no longer needed to receive support,” Fawzia shared with us. Her daughter, now age 12, is well-adjusted and excelling in her 7th-grade class.