At least 10 people have been killed in an extremist attack in Somalia including Hodan Nalayeh, a prominent Somali-Canadian journalist and her husband. Nalayeh poses on a hill overlooking the city of Garoe, Somalia, in a recent handout photo published to social media. Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976, but spent most of her life in Canada, first in Alberta and then in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Hodan Nalayeh, Facebook, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Loved ones of Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh mourn after terrorist attack

She moved back to Somalia last year in an effort to tell positive stories of her home country

Family and friends of Hodan Nalayeh are remembering the Somali-Canadian journalist killed in a terrorist attack this week for her work redefining the global Somali identity through positive storytelling.

Nalayeh, a broadcast reporter born in Somalia with roots in Edmonton and Toronto, died with her husband in an attack at a hotel in the city of Kismayo, Somali officials have said, though Global Affairs Canada have yet to confirm the details of her death.

READ MORE: Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Naleyeh dies in Somalia extremist attack

She moved back to Somalia last year in an effort to tell positive stories of her home country through an independent media platform: Integration TV. She was seven months pregnant and is survived by her two sons.

“We will remember her as our hero, as somebody who is so invested in making sure the world knew the beauty of the Somali culture, Somali people, of Somalia,” said Farhiya Jama, a friend of Nalayeh’s.

“We lost somebody who wanted a future for us that was reimagined into a healthy image of us,” said the Somali visual storyteller based in Toronto.

Jama said Nalayeh first reached out to her in 2013, after she first started speaking about being a trauma survivor.

“She was constantly finding ways to affirm me, because social media wasn’t a great place for me when I first started sharing my story,” Jama said. “She was one of the first people to support my voice, because our Somali community can be very difficult to navigate when you are pushing against the norms.”

Jama, who is from the same Toronto neighbourhood where Nalayeh lived, said the journalist will always be admired as an important public figure in the Somali diaspora and her work reimagining the Somali identity will have a lasting effect.

Nalayeh wasn’t finished supporting the Somali community, a family member said.

Suad Galow, Nalayeh’s cousin, said she last spoke with the journalist a few weeks ago about launching a new project through her non-profit organization: the Somali Women Foundation.

She said Nalayeh was thrilled about the foundation and wanted to help gather sports equipment to give to kids in Kismayo, Somalia.

Galow, who lives in Fairfax, Va., but is currently in Somalia, went on to say that Nalayeh’s words of encouragement were like having “dreams come back to the country.”

“(It was to) make them smile, make them happy, make them see we care,” said Galow, who is currently in Somalia. “Everyone connected with her word, and supported her.”

Galow said when the family first heard of Nalayeh’s death, they locked themselves in their hotel and prayed and cried.

“It’s a tough day for me and for a lot of people. It’s very difficult to lose someone like her,” she said.

“She was so important, especially for what I’m doing right now empowering young women through sports and peace,” Galow said.

Lidia Abraha, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two-vehicle collision causes rollover at Burtch Road and Highway 97

Harvey is down to single lane traffic headed downtown

Lake Country event gets people to celebrate failure

Event on Feb. 29 will give people opportunity to discuss failures, enjoy live music and create artwork

Dates revealed for 2020 Kelowna Pride celebrations

Kelowna’s Pride Week will run from June 6 to 14

Kelowna accepting applications for Artist in Residence program

Artists from all disciplines are welcome to apply

Central Okanagan receives less funding per student than B.C. average

In 2019, Central Okanagan received almost $400 less in funding per student

UPDATE: Protesters say they will maintain blockade near Chase “as long as it takes”

Signs at protest site say in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Deaths on popular Shuswap trail ruled accidental

B.C. Coroners Service reports on fatal falls in May and July 2019

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Federal minister to speak in North Okanagan

Greater Vernon Chamber welcomes middle class prosperity minister to talk money

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

EDITORIAL: Thoughtless posts to Facebook cause real harm and stress

At the risk of resembling a broken record, it needs to be… Continue reading

Most Read