“The warm welcome I received from the immigration officer at the airport left a lasting and emotional impression on me. After completing the necessary paperwork, his simple yet heartfelt gesture of a smile and the words “Welcome home, Khalid”. It made me feel immediately embraced by my new home country.”
Our first story for Black History Month 2024 is from Khalid Shogar from Khartoum in Sudan who came to British Columbia last year.
Khalid’s story highlights the challenges that many immigrants and refugees experience in their journey to Canada. However, Khalid’s optimism and perseverance is inspiring, as is his belief in the opportunities and security British Columbia offers him. We hope you enjoy his story.
“My name is Khalid. I am 25 years old and came to Canada from my home country of Sudan via Malaysia. I left Sudan because of worsening human rights abuses and a breakdown of law and order.
I tell people that I am ‘half-Canadian’ because, even though I haven’t got my citizenship yet, I feel such a strong connection to Canada and its values, culture and community. For me, being ‘half-Canadian’ means embracing the Canadian way of life, contributing to society, and feeling a deep sense of attachment to this country.
In Sudan, I worked in a non-governmental organization supporting refugees who were fleeing from conflicts and seeking safety and support. It was fulfilling to be able to help them and witness the smiles on their faces as they received assistance with dignity and respect.
The change from working with refugees in Sudan to becoming one in Canada has been difficult, but I still want to find a way to give back to my new community and continue a career in humanitarian organizations.
My journey to Canada was not easy. I spent a year in Malaysia where refugees often do not have access to basic needs like education or banking services and their rights are often ignored.
Now that I’m in Canada, its iconic red maple leaf has now become a symbol of great pride for me, representing the values of inclusivity and diversity that Canada represents.
It’s these parts of Canada that I appreciate the most. When I compare Canada to the places I’ve lived previously, the biggest differences are in the areas of improved human rights equality, quality of life, and justice. In Canada, the strong emphasis on human rights and equality stands out, which fosters an inclusive and diverse society.
This is why one of my proudest achievements since coming to Canada has been receiving my Permanent Residency status. It symbolizes a significant milestone in my journey, reflecting my commitment to building a long-term life in this welcoming and diverse country.
Now in Canada, I am focusing on finding a job and engaging with my local community. I look forward to volunteering and getting involved in contributing positively to the community.
ISSofBC has been an invaluable support since day one of my arrival in Canada. It has supported me with essential documentation, helped me to register for my Social Insurance Number (SIN) and new bank cards, offered me volunteering and social opportunities, free English language classes, and much more!”
If you are new to British Columbia, visit our Settlement services to learn how we can support you.
If you would like to make new friends, learn about your local community and make a difference, become an ISSofBC volunteer.