Campaign: Global Citizen News

From 3-Year Old Kosovo Refugee to Osgoode Hall Law Student, Canada


If someone told me that on my 19th anniversary of being in Canada, I would have so many successes and blessings to look back on, I would have never believed them.

My father will always be my greatest loss in life

I immigrated to Canada as a refugee in 1999 when I was three, from war-torn Kosovo. Ever since then, Canada has been a safe haven for my family and I. Just like any other victim of the Kosovo war, we were deprived of our rights, freedom, safety, and happiness. Above all else, I lost my Father during the war in the Gullobovc massacre. He will always be my greatest loss in life.

While it has been and will always be difficult for me growing up without any memories of my Father. I know that it has been much more difficult for my Mother. She was left alone to raise six children on her own. To this day, I have no idea how she kept us all safe during the war. She has raised us all so well.

I will forever be indebted to Canada and the individuals who welcomed us to this wonderful country as if we were all family. Canada has given me the opportunity to make my Father proud by doing something with my life to show that he did not sacrifice his life and die for nothing.

My lifestyle is a consequence of my wounds.

Looking back on these 19 years, I am happy because although I did not have a peaceful childhood. I am strong because I survived a war that was composed of mass killings, genocide and hate crimes. My lifestyle is a consequence of my wounds. I am going to be a Lawyer soon. I fought through life’s adversities and have achieved many of my goals.

Experiencing war has made me strong and determined to pursue my dreams, as a way of showing the Serbians responsible for the Kosovo war that despite the countless number of people they killed and dreams they shattered nineteen years ago, Albanians continue to stand strong.

On this 19th anniversary, I remember my Father, who taught me that true love means having the courage to die for your family, your roots, and your home – Kosovo.

Today, I am happy and thankful for Canada because it has enabled me to make my dreams come true. I came to Canada with no rights, no freedom, and no voice. Now, I am a second-year law student at one of the top law schools in Canada, Osgoode Hall Law School. I look forward to graduating in 2019, beginning my career as a lawyer to advocate for innocent victims of war crimes, and help make Kosovo become recognized as its own independent state on the international world stage.

I am not naïve to the fact that I would not be where I am today without the never-ending support of my family and the opportunities Canada has given me. However, I am convinced that if I did not dedicate myself to believing that I had great potential to set big goals for myself and achieve them. I would have given up a very long time ago. Perhaps, I never would have even given my dreams and goals a chance.

Whenever I was faced with an obstacle in achieving my goals, I always said to myself, “you do not want to make the graveyard a richer place”. There are so many people that die who take their dreams, goals, and ideas with them that if taken together, could have had the potential to change the world.

My fellow immigrants and refugees: pursue your goals and aspirations because the world needs them now more than ever. Remember that the obstacles and burdens in your way, you were only meant to overcome them, not carry them with you throughout your entire life.

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