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.

Just Posted

Four generations of Vancouver Island logging and mining stories in one show

Nanaimo’s John Gogo will share regional stories, family history and song in his latest project

Cineplex to show free holiday movies to support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Community Day will be on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m at select theatres

Man discovers hidden corners of the city while cycling every street in Victoria

Cyclist maps progress while taking on 2019 goal to cover every street with road sign

Victoria owl tangled in net for two days faces long road to recovery

Barred owl rescued by Victoria Animal Control, taken to Wild ARC

Nearly 80 incredible artists, one extraordinary Vancouver Island tree

Bateman gallery’s OneTree 2019 honours the life of a single, tree salvaged from the Chemainus Valley

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Ski resorts selling mountain water is a risky move, critics say

Alberta allowed ski resort in Kananaskis Country to sell about 50 million litres to third party

Most Read