Idil Timayare and her six children at home in the North End. She holds daughter, Samira, and is surrounded by sons (from left) Salman, Zakariya, Soyan, Harrun and Ahmed (kneeling).

By: Carol Sanders

Misfortune follows the North End single mom with six kids everywhere.

When she was nine, her family fled mayhem in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. They took shelter in a refugee camp in Kenya that locals torched, scattering many families, including hers. At 15, she was alone and fled to South Africa, already flooded with unwelcome refugees. By the time she was 28, she was a single parent of six and driven out again by locals who beat her husband until he fled and burned down their small shop.

When Idil Timayare was reunited with her parents in Winnipeg in 2011, her troubles didn’t end. She was run down by a cab this past winter, days before a crucial refugee hearing. As luck would have it, the Immigration and Refugee Board member hearing her case had a track record of rejection — saying no to 180 refugee claimants out of 210 cases heard in 2011. With a busted foot and fuzzy on prescription painkillers, 31-year-old Timayare testified on behalf of herself and her six young kids and lost.

Now, she and her children, who’ve been attending school here, have no status in Canada and their future is uncertain. They scrape by with help from food banks and social assistance in a dark, stifling hot-box they rent for $1,000 a month in the North End.

“I have hope,” said Timayare, who’s receiving physiotherapy, coping with pain and looking forward to returning to English classes in the fall. “My kids like it here. They enjoy school.”

Their rent is high and their house isn’t great, but they have good neighbours, she said.

Her five sons under 12 have been going to school here for the last two years. The oldest, Zakariya, who’s turning 12 in September, said he’s not sure what he wants to be when he grows up. His younger siblings practically bounce off the walls of their cramped home and he feels the pressure of his station in the family.

“It’s annoying,” said the Canadian-sounding adolescent.

Four-year-old Samira is nervous about starting nursery school but excited about her shiny, pink shoes.

“I can’t go back,” said her mom. She fears her daughter would have to undergo female circumcision.

‘I can’t go back… Somalia is not safe’

“I don’t want her circumcised. Somalia is not safe.”

If they’re sent back to South Africa, they have no means of support and, as outsiders, will once again face xenophobic attacks, she said.

Timayare’s parents, who were granted refugee status and assisted by the Canadian government to come here more than a decade ago, are now Canadian citizens. They live a short drive from their daughter and grandkids and planted a big vegetable garden in their backyard.

Samira spends a lot of time at her grandparents’ apartment, where her grandmother, Amina, dotes on her and gives her strawberry ice cream in a red plastic cup.

Grandfather Ahmed Timayare said they help out as much as they can.

On Feb. 4, he was waiting downtown in the car with his grandkids for his daughter, who’d gone to a program for newcomers. They waited three hours and she didn’t show up. He didn’t know a cab hit her and she’d been taken to hospital by ambulance. She was stabilized and a patient lent her a cellphone to call her dad.

Days later, she hobbled into court for her refugee hearing, on crutches with a cast on her leg and still in rough shape. She wanted to get it over with.

Her father stayed in the hall with her kids while Timayare went ahead with the proceedings. She said she can’t remember what happened, but she knows she lost.

Human rights lawyer David Matas said she shouldn’t have testified in such rough shape — especially before a board member with one of the highest refugee rejection rates. Matas asked the Federal Court to review the refugee board decision, but it refused.

Now her only hope is to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada to stay on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, Matas said. The application fee for the family of seven is $1,400 — what they have to live on every month, said Timayare.

If her luck doesn’t change soon, the Canada Border Services Agency said she and her kids will be sent back to the place they fled.

“We’re safe here,” said Timayare.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press


  1. Sad and painful story.. To all with heart, can we set a donation account to hire the best immigration lawyer in Canada?

    • Well done Big A. I will also support the cause. I will pay 50% of the cost, if rest of you first come up with the other 50%. Let us set up a bank account in her name and deposit some money for her. can play a pivotal role in facilitating communication between donors and recipient – or we can set up a Facebook account on her behalf.

      Side note: Where are the fathers who sire these kids and abdicate their fatherly responsibilities? Not specific to this case but generally speaking, I see in the diaspora Somali women take both roles in raising their kids. Shameful on us men.

      Black Americans have, if not an excuse, a plausible explanation of failure of family institution and disintegration – it is called slavery. What excuse does Jamac or Farax have?

      • @Jaboutawi
        I guess the father is some where in South Africa.But situation now is these innocent kid's future It is not time to blame any one. We can not let these minds lost
        Take the initiative and let us do exactly as mentioned.

      • Well big A I do argue with human beings but I don't argue with different creatures like you. I argue with men not with transgenders.

    • your donation is a con, and you where the one who insulted called people handicap, well that don't give out Oscars in Africa stop with the performance they should get the best lawyer and immigration lawyer in Canada doesn't cost that much and stop with your con, are you going to give your welfare money or you going con people out of some money, as Somali Canadian living here in Canada since 83 I think we should have petition to prevent deportion and we should come out in force to help our struggling sister, how long have you been since 1990.

      • What happen to this family is a shameful. I hope God send them an angel to protect them from deportation and prosecution. I agree with the idea of helping the mother and her kids through donations and open an account in Canada where every person sent their contribution to that account.

  2. Well they should deport that women and her children back to bullet ridden Somalia these immigrants take advantage of our system.

    • Hey Big A what the hell are you talking about they should not deport women and children for any condition whatsoever to a bullet ridden country that is insane you always believe in your white masters choices. Canada is fair and free democratic country and it is the most diverse and populated county with immigrants of all backgrounds. Those foregin countries that is not your country you know where you ancsestors are from go buy ticket and find your roots you monkey. You are the handicap and a transgender.

  3. Her clan should be getting together to help her out with legal fees and the application funds.

    Why is it folks always say if someone has more boys its all manshallah but never the same with girls. Smdh In North America I see the young women being more of a blessing to their families than the boys to be honest. I cant name the amount of sisters, cousins, aunts, grandmothers who pull together and not only help people back home with monthly funds but keep the family in the west connected.

    There are only a few of the young men that are pulling their weight as much as the girls are. I hope I have more girls than boys to be honest. Somali women are masters of survival, I just hope we brothers can give these women the peace and prosperity they more than deserve. I am tired of white women, asians etc living good. I want to see our sisters up there, not worrying about hunger, or poverty.

  4. Since I like to show I will give that family $ 75,000 for a good lawyer I am rich and I have collected money from insurance fraud.

  5. I would like to contribute $ 75,000 for that families tragedy so they can get a good immigration lawyer.

  6. Your idea is retareded BIG A you are autistic so let real people think, you don't what you are talking let's sign a petition to prevent this deporation from happening. Have Somali in Canada's signature and make a facebook or twitter for that family and we can send it through immigration department in Ottawa. We done it before for 30 years.

  7. After all the bad ordeals and turbulent mayhem this poor mother of 6 innocent kids
    has gone through, Canada is good country and its people and also the canadian Somali
    Community centres should find a final push breakthrough for helping this suffering poor
    mom. Maybe Canadian Churches could help as well.

    • You guys are retarded and autistic you and big A go to church to collect money that is haram at least ask the muslim community in Canada and the mosques too that's who Somali's to it here but a church, you guys are retarded. Canada is one of the best countries in the world when it comes to immigration.

    • @Fair Game,
      Shame on you . You should be a low level to speak meanly to this in distress poor young
      mom with 6 wonderful innocent kids .

      • Be careful Mahamed Cheers, Mahamed Farah his sidekick will call you a nacas. This person is garbage his not worth talking too.

  8. Canada cant deport these people indeed canada was one the countries that signed the refugee convention where refugees are protected by the human rights legislation, united nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) and through various international covenants and charters guaranteeing human rights.

    These people are in dire need of help particularly the children's who remind me of me own children who I left in Hargeisa. I would I have donated some money but unfortunately I am in financial crisis.

    • Very good you know the immigration system and that's why Canada hosts the largest Somali diaspora in the western world to tell you the truth bro, very good observation, I couldn't agree with you more. We have a facebook and twitter petition to prevent that family from being deported and then it should go through Ottawa soon enough.

  9. As promised, I did get feedback from the reporter of this article. We can contact Hospitality House Refugee Ministry in Winnipeg to assist this woman and her kids.

    Here is the email address:

    To Big A: I suspect you are a charlatan. Only big thing about you is your stupidity.

  10. Jabuwati how about opening a facebook and twitter account to have petition for that poor woman and her young children a petition is way to prevent immigration and it will go through Ottawa like that.

    • It will have more "street cred" if someone in Canada started a Facebook account on her behalf. I imagine there are few people that post here who live in Canada. I do not live in Canada.

  11. @All
    I have not written any comments about this sad situation. Who ever use my post name, shame on you.
    I know who you are and understand I could do the same for you.

    • I am sorry I am just bipolar, I did write this comments and I lied to you and I am blaming this on an innocent person well shame on me.

  12. Big A you mean to tell us that you have 75k sitting around and the best you could come up with is to troll online? Ni gga please

  13. I'm sure mohamed cheers could give her a helping hand since he's a canadian he knows the policy than anyone else in here. He should for once in his entire miserable life do the right thing stand up his Somali brothers and sisters instead of dividing us into British and Italian christians colonial white trash borders.

  14. @Big A
    I ain't got no money I ain't got no job, I don't get any government money funds nor do I barely send any money to me family back in hargeisa but you know what I am not broken or defeated. I will starve meself and starve me wife and kids to death through hunger but I will never ever beg the british white trash people for money. My father told me three pillars of a true character of a young man which are dignity, integrity and honor.

    What is my dignity? I got self respect.
    What is m honor? I protect my reputation I protect me family's reputation and I defend and guard me beloved country from European colonialism.
    What is m integrity? my integrity is a commitment I made for the fallen somali people who were divided by the white trash European colonialism to unite them under one strong Somaliweyn state.

    I might be a failure in the eyes of the British white trash community because I refuse to obey their slavery act but I am a success in the eyes of my family for upholding the banner of dignity, integrity and honor.

    What is you'r dignity? serve your white trash British master in the bedroom.
    What is you'r honor? fulfil the legacy of the European colonialism by upholding the British and italian white trash colonial borders in Somalia.
    what is you'r integrity? have a weird fantasy of being ganged-raped by my white men.

    You're disgusting creature just like mohamed cheers.

    • if you hate Britain so much go home and take ur starving children with you,loser. Anybody can find a job, u must be lazy or is ur wife working,,

  15. Well I second that motion, what was the woman up we all know that kids are from different husbands.