A Somalian mother Sahra Omar and daughter were one step closer to happiness yesterday after getting their Canadian citizenships at London’s Citizenship and Immigration office.

sahra omar

Sahra Omar

 Halkaan ka akhri

Sahra Omar can’t truly celebrate until she’s reunited with her sons.

sahra omar

A Somalian mother Sahra Omar and daughter were one step closer to happiness yesterday after getting their Canadian citizenships at London’s Citizenship and Immigration office.

But even while 13-year-old Ayan beamed, repeating “I’m Canadian! I’m Canadian!” while hugging her relatives, mom Sahra Omar’s mind was on two sons she left in Africa nine years ago.

“It’s a good day, it’s a big day and I’m proud of this,” said Omar, clenching her citizenship card after singing the national anthem as a Canadian for the first time. “But I’ll never really be 100 per cent happy until my children get here,” she said, tears welling up.

Nine years ago, after fleeing war-torn Somalia with her children and taking shelter in an Ethiopian refugee camp where Ayan became sick, Omar faced a choice no mother should have to make.

She could leave the refugee camp and take Ayan to Canada — but she’d have to leave the boys behind temporarily until she could sponsor them.

Her youngest was only 11 months old. Omar says despite her new life and accomplishments in Canada — which include a health-care worker certificate and three more children — the decade has been filled with worry.

For years, she waited for the boys, complying with government requirements, including DNA tests to prove her parenthood. Three years ago, a local church agreed to sponsor the boys, but still, Omar remained in limbo, unaware if and when her sons would meet her in Canada.

Continuing to take English classes, volunteering and trying to get work as a personal support worker, while raising five children here, Omar says she has been on a decade-long emotional roller-coaster of high hopes and deep depressions.

But suddenly, things seem to be falling into place.

This month, after Omar’s story made headlines, she learned her youngest son — now nine — has been issued a visa.

A spokesperson for citizenship and immigration said yesterday the boy has been cleared to come to Canada and officials are waiting for the older son’s clearance to be processed.

Omar said she wants the boys to come together and she won’t feel at peace until they’re here.

But yesterday, her first stop after receiving citizenship was to hit the passport office.

“I’m going there right now. I need to be ready because when they can come, I’m going to get them,” she said, surrounded by her own flag-waving, Canadian-born children, other family members and friends from the Somalian, Jamaican and Canadian-born communities.

“This is a big, big day for her,” said Shukri Awale. “Two or three weeks ago, her story was only heartbreaking. Today, it is a great story.”

Source:Sun Media, December 15, 2007

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