Abdullah’s Story

Abdullah’s Story

Meet Abdullah. He grew up in Kenya, but in December 2023 he came to Canada with two of his children. He says the decision to come wasn’t easy, but it was necessary as it was no longer safe for his son to be himself. 

“My son came to realize that he is part of the LGBTQ family. It was very bad back home for him. A father has to do what he has to do, right? So here I am,” says Abdullah. 

Abdullah is currently living at the YMCA Men’s Residence in Downtown Hamilton.  

“I was inquiring from time to time about a room here at the Y. On April first, I came again and thankfully I got a space here.” 

With a place to call home, Abdullah says he finally had a moment to breathe. 

“Now I can think like any other human being is thinking,” he says. 

When asked to explain what he means, Abdullah says it’s about the help that surrounds you at the YMCA. 
“I’ve got a community of people I can communicate with. We’ve got all kinds of help from the people in the lobby and at reception and in the hallways. It’s a good place to be,” he says. 

In early May, Abdullah received his work permits and he’s been out looking for employment ever since. He says he’s a tradesman and had worked in oil and gas for about 13 years as a technician. He’s heard from a company out in Alberta but says he doesn’t want to move too far away from his children. 

“I can’t just move out of regions like that. I came with my kids, and I feel very comfortable being around here right now,” says Abdullah. 

Abdullah’s 24-year-old son is currently staying at a shelter in Toronto, while his 22-year-old daughter is taking courses to become a Personal Support Worker (PSW). 

“So far, he’s okay. We talk twice a day. He calls me in the morning and in the evening.” 

His wife and third child, a 12-year-old girl, are back home in Kenya. 

While he continues to look for work and support his family, Abdullah also gives back to the community. 

“I go to the Salvation Army to help with whatever they might need. They come to ask if we can volunteer, and I’m always available. I love to do it!” 

The Men’s Residence has been a light for Abdullah as he travelled across the world to a new country to help his son have a safe and bright future. It’s given him community, friendship and hope.  

And the support doesn’t end there. Abdullah plans to connect with the YMCA’s Immigrant Services and Employment Services teams to help him continue to ignite his potential and thrive in his new home. 

#Ignitepotential #TheYSavesLives #ShineOn 


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