Winnipeg Somali community serves up meal for asylum seekers

In News by MIIC

Anisa Isse says the Winnipeg Somali community wants asylum seekers to feel welcome in Winnipeg. (Austin Grabish / CBC)

A home cooked meal went a long way for Somali asylum seekers new to Winnipeg Saturday night.

Rice, chicken and lots of stew was on the menu at the Winnipeg Islamic Centre, but there was also a sense of community.

“We’re pretty new, so it’s good to meet new friends, know there’s a community here,” said Yacin Ali Sougueh, who fled the U.S. on foot for Manitoba two weeks ago.

Sougueh is from Djibouti and is one of many asylum seekers who’ve entered Manitoba in recent months.

Hundreds of asylum seekers have walked through snowy fields near the Emerson, Man. border to get into Canada.

Refugee claimants are using an exception in the 2004 Safe Third Country Agreement, which lets a person make a refugee claim in Canada if he or she has entered the country somewhere other than an official port of entry, like a field near a border crossing.

“It was a dangerous journey, but it was one that we needed to make to find a better life in the pursuit of happiness,” Sougueh said.

“It hasn’t been easy at all.”

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