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Please help my family leave Sudan!

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After living for 7 years in Canada – first as a refugee with my then 3 years daughter and then as a proud Canadian citizen, in July 2022, I decided to go back Sudan to stay for one year with my family.

Immediately upon my return, I got heavily engaged with the feminist movement – particularly with the new generation of young feminists who were organizing en masse, and it was such a refreshing moment for my spirit and soul for me. I suddenly felt as if I had never left – that the last seven years of struggle, healing, and acceptance of the life I had lost in Sudan had just been a dream and not the reality I had been forced to learn how to navigate. And, why not? I had been always careworn with women organizing for equality and rights for my entire life in Sudan – especially after the 2018 revolution and the massive engagement of women and young women. I immediately blended and melted in that beautiful new crowd feminists working to transform Sudan from the ground up. My daughter Nour (11 years) also fell immediately in love with Sudan and the reunion and living arrangements with our large, extended family. She picked up Arabic naturally, like she was breathing, excelled at school and thrived in the company of all her cousins, aunties and uncles. She was happy.

On April 15, it was like our lives changed back seven years again but this time it was worse than before – it was the war separated us again. This has been exceptionally heartbreaking, painful, and scary to endure at every level – the immediate impact to our family and friends but also to once again be on the precipice of real change and lasting peace and have it ripped away again at the whim of men and the hunger for power.

For two weeks, my family and I were barricaded in our house – so incredibly grateful that no one had been away from the house when fighting broke out. Mortar shells, bullets, human screams, and other detritus of war were the constant soundtrack we heard we hunkered down, en masse as a family, to wait out this latest episode of violence in our lives. Two weeks later, Nour and I were luckily able to escape and come back to Canada through an evacuation by the Canadian embassy after the tireless advocacy of our Canadian friends and family. To do so, we were told to go to a military airport, which was a long way from where we lived and through streets and neighbourhoods that had been taken over in the fighting. The way from house to the airport was dreadful and terrifying and transportation, of any kind, was scarce. For us to reach the airport we needed to search in the black market for fuel for my cousin’s car, who was also trying to escape with his wife and small children. After a couple of hours, we got our hands on one gallon of fuel for 35,000 Sudanese pounds, which is equivalent to more than $50! Our car was frightfully full with my cousins, their two toddlers and my daughter. We were frightened to leave our homes for the first time with the roads filled with the Janjaweed and not knowing what will happen to us. It took us one hour and 40 minutes till we reached the military airport. We had just missed the evening flight and the airport courtyard outside was crowded of families with dual nationalities trying to escape. As we waited for the next flight, the airport area slowly became very dark, hot and very quiet except of crying of babies. Of course, there were no lights because of the military restrictions and we lived for some time, on our mobiles flashes which slowly started to fade due to battery low and nowhere to charge our phone. Around 11 pm they allowed us inside the airport hanger, and we spent the night on the floor or sitting on our bags. The morning slowly started to give some light and we are all waiting for the plane to leave., It was extremely frightening, tiring and exhausting with only sun-heated water to drink and limited food. Finally, we were able board the next military plane and we took off at 1 pm to Cyprus. The flight took 4 hours till we reached Cyprus at the airport after we passed the immigration, we were received by the Canadian Consular, it was a very warm welcoming and they arranged a hotel for us in downtown and arranged for our travel Canada. I am sure if not because of the war situation we would have enjoyed the nice weather and sight-seeing, but for me and my daughter it was like a nightmare we don’t know how things will go especially by leaving our family behind. After spending two nights we manage to travel to Canada. It was four of the most exhausting and terrifying days of my life – and there have been many as a refugee seven years before.

My family were forced to evacuate our home in Omdurman at the end of May as our areas was becoming increasingly occupied by the Janjaweed who were seizing people’s homes and possessions for their own comfort and whimsy. They now live in every house in our neighborhood, not only stealing our properties – but also all our belonging but desecrating our cherished family heirlooms, books, photos, and memories.

My large, close knit extended family consists of 15 people and includes children and elderly people at risk. We have lived in Khartoum for generations, and we have no family roots outside Khartoum State. I have managed to arrange for their temporary evacuation to capital of Northern State Dongla City where they managed to find a two-bedroom house for the exorbitant and inflated cost of US $650/month (an amount which will enable us to rent two good apartments in Cairo). The situation is incredibly unstable and uncertain, and their safety is not assured until they are out of Sudan where they can plant new roots and start building a new life.

Due to war no one is working now, I am the only one responsible of sustaining their lives there, and it is hard for them to get a job.

Today the war completed 100 days. The Janjaweed are still occupying our area and homes and the killing of civilians both by indirect fire and discretionary and random executions is increasing exponentially. It is not possible for them to go back any time soon and there are no schools, 67% of medical services in the country are no longer operational. It is imperative to both my family’s safety and well being – and that of my own and my daughters – that my family are relocated out of Sudan as soon as humanly possible.

I really need them my family to travel to Egypt to maintain a better life where they have a chance at getting back to work, kids can go back to school and our elders can have medical access. There is no end in sight for this new conflict engulfing Sudan so we need to find another way for our family to find peace and be able to sustain themselves again, returning to some basic level of safety and ability to resume normal life.

Traveling to Egypt was made easy during the first month of the war women and children need no visa, and men above 50 years. However, this has changed now we need to issue visas and security clearance prices for issuing it vary from $350-1000 USD / person, the cost of bus travel to Egypt plus funds for food, medicine, and incidentals for the journey. We are estimating it will cost, on average, $1000 USD / person to evacuate safely as a family to Egypt so that total amount of support I am looking to raise is $15,000 USD.

In my journey as a refugee for seven years, although I benefitted greatly from the generosity of friends and allies in my feminist network, I never asked anyone for money. However, because of the grave danger my family is in now and that, for now, I am the sole financial supporter that will sustain my family during this scary and life threatening time in addition to being the sole financial support for my own young daughter – I am now asking you all to help me in any way you can to get my family to safety so they can resume supporting themselves. Any support or advice that would help get my family to safety is incredibly needed and welcome.

Fahima
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Donations 

  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 10 mos
  • Holly A Baggett
    • $25 
    • 10 mos
  • Alaine Hutson
    • $130 
    • 10 mos
  • james lee
    • $200 
    • 10 mos
  • Kimalee Phillip
    • $100 
    • 11 mos
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Organizer

Fahima Hashim
Organizer
Ottawa, ON

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