Thursday is World Refugee Day, and one Winnipeg man is drawing from his own experience as a refugee to help others.
Omar Rahimi of hirearefugee.ca came to Winnipeg in 2001 after living his entire life in a refugee camp in Iraq – without citizenship of any country, any possessions to speak of, or much hope for a future.
He said his Kurdish family was forced into a refugee camp called ‘No Man’s Land’, where he was born, and his parents believed they were taken there to be wiped out, along with thousands of other Kurds.
Rahimi now works closely with refugees in Winnipeg, coaching soccer teams and teaching newcomers new skills, including helping them find employment in their new home.
But he told 680 CJOB that when he first arrived in the city, he didn’t know what to do, a position he says many refugees are in when they move to a new country.
“I thought about how I came here as a refugee,” he said. “I had nothing. I knew four languages, but didn’t know a lot of people.
“(Hirearefugee.ca) has been a really big success, and we’ve helped hundreds and hundreds of refugees. We hope to keep helping and keep building on what we’ve been doing. Some days are very stressful, but it’s worth it.”
The company helps connect refugee workers with odd jobs, including painting, snow removal, cleaning, landscaping and more.
WATCH: Former refugee talks about continued hate he faces in Winnipeg