Husband, Entrepreneur and Former Refugee

Mohamed Malim

My name is Mukhtar Dahir. I was born in Somalia and I am a former refugee. My story is a little bit different because I didn't directly come to the U.S. My experiences were secondary to my parents and siblings. When we fled from the civil war in May 1993, we came to Canada and I was 1 years old. From there, I've established myself and arrived in the U.S a few years ago.

I came with my two parents and 4 older siblings from Somalia to Canada and landed in Toronto. Although I was a baby, I didn't realize that I was a refugee because I was a kid when I arrived in Toronto from Somalia. As I got older, I wasn't seen as a refugee because Toronto is a very diverse city and the minority was the majority where I lived so It wasn't too hard to adapt. I would definitely say that there were many stereotypes of being a refugee; for example, handouts from the government, being lazy and a burden to the system ect. I've seen my mom struggle a lot during my childhood, such as learning a new language and integration. It was very interesting because my older siblings had to read all the letters and it's funny because my siblings were like an attorney at a young age for my parents.

Living in the U.S provided me so many opportunities economically. For example, I owned a couple of real estate properties with my family, and I run a couple of daycare centers in the Somali community. It helped me prosper in so many ways that I am grateful for. Empowering refugee youth and individuals are very important in this country. For example, creating a platform for voices and essentially paving the way for them to see that people like them are already doing it. On top of that, building a community for them, where they can connect with successful individuals and lead them to a way that they can benefit from each other. I believe that's how we can empower refugees and our youth in a country where there are so many opportunities. The people and the communities are what makes America so special. This is
what attracts me to come to America. I met so many great people and I also met the love of my life here as well.

The advice I would give to a refugee who is trying to find their place in the world is remember the trials and tribulations are temporary. Coming to a new country is not easy because you are leaving everything behind and litierlay starting “Life Over ''. It's going to be a long journey and the sacrifices you make will create a legacy for your future and your family. Knowing what you is going to be fruitful and if it's not with you , it's the seeds that you will bury,

My definition of success is to be self aligned, self fulfilled and be an example to the people. People always think it is always about finances but to me it's not. I want to be remembered for my impact on people. For example, my parents' trails and how they've been through alot inspires me to work hard in life and just be good to people as well as you grow. As long as you work hard in this country, you will accomplish your dreams. I can testify that since I came to this country few years ago and I've gained a lot of friends and achieved a lot.

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