MCRC - 30 Years of Fostering New Beginnings

Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre

Whenever I come to this place, this place gives me hope.

- Saif Mito

I’m from a small village called Kocho, in Iraq.

I lived there with my siblings and my parents and all my relatives. I attended Arabic school in the village. I used to play soccer with my friends on gravel roads. On August 3rd, 2014, ISIS took over the region.

They took over my village and other Yazidi villages. On August 15th, they came to my village, took the men in groups to the edge of the village and start executing them. Then they took us, the children and women, to another place. Of course, they killed my father among the men. Next day they killed further 70 or 80, including 12 of my friends. They took us, the children, into military training camps in Syria.

After spending almost three years in captivity, my brother and I ran away. And we went back to Iraq.

On 2018, on March 31st, we landed here in Canada, right at this place. It was snowing so bad. Before that. I did not even know Canada existed.

We came here and the staff told us, “We will be helping you here.”

Whenever I come to this place, this place gives me hope.

That’s because it helped me fulfill two of my childhood dreams.

One of my dreams was to go back to school. Unlike in my country, here they helped me to go back to school. Now, I’m in University.

Me and my friends who are also survivors, dreamt of playing soccer all the time. And, CCIS formed a soccer team for us. They paid for our jerseys. They paid for booking the grounds for us to play. They provided us with coaches.

We started playing in Division Five, and reached all the way to Division Two.

Now they are helping me publish my book (my memoirs as a child soldier and beyond).

Saif is a student at Mount Royal University and an aspiring writer, who is soon publishing his book of memoirs as a child soldier.

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Make A Direct Impact on Your Community by Donating to CCIS (Calgary Catholic Immigration Society).

We acknowledge all donors who contribute so generously to CCIS. Your contribution honours the courage and resiliency of Alberta’s newest residents.

Donations? Call Us: 403.262.2006

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