Our Vision

is to act as an integral part of a welcoming and enabling environment where refugees are integrated within South Africa

A Motivation to All

Bishara Hussein Ali and her elder sister, Shukri Husen Ali, came from the war-torn country of Somalia to South Africa as they both feared persecution. Shukri arrived in South Africa with her children first while Bishara was left in Somalia with their elderly parents. However, Bishara soon joined her eldest sister and started attending school at Eastville Primary School. Since Bishara’s arrival, Shukri has managed to support both her sister and her children. Even after Shukri’s husband deserted them in 2005 and they had to fend for themselves, Shukri was able to provide for her family. Since her arrival Bishara has managed to master both English and Afrikaans. And in 2014, she completed grade 12 from Darul Argum Islamic High. This marks Bishara, as not only the first person of her family to complete school, but also the first female learner from Somalia who has completed matric and been assisted by CTRC. Furthermore, Bishara has also been accepted at both the University of Western Cape and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology for Business Studies. Due to a lack of funds, Bishara plans to work during 2015 and enroll in 2016. Education is not seen as an important right in Somalia, and often girls are not given the same opportunities as boys to this right- making Bishara and her family an inspiration to other Somali girls in Cape Town and surrounds.

In her spare time, Bishara is dedicated to helping others in need. She volunteers at a children’s home and old-age home, both in Mitchells Plain. She also assists children who can’t read, specifically new Somalis in the area since most parents can’t read the language.  She has also done job shadowing at The Red Cross Children’s Hospital doing administrative work.

Although, Bishara’s parents are still in Somalia, they continue to motivate her to be a better person and stand up for her rights. They have told her to “work with a pen and not just physical strength”. Her sister is a huge source of encouragement. She has always provided for Bishara and teaches her about their history. Bishara has been in South Africa for so long that she feels she belongs here. However, she was the only Somalian girl in grades 8-10 and keeps her Islamic traditional attire. She feels like she is respected for whom she is.

One of Bishara’s niece failed grade 8 - but was so motivated by Bishara that decided to stay in school and work harder, and then came 2nd in her grade. Another of Bishara’s nieces is in high school as well. Bishara is aware of at least 3 other girls who have been motivated because of her to go back to school                                                                                                                         

When asked which superhero she would like to be, Bishara said that she would be her own brand of “Superwoman”.  She would help anyone who needs help, especially women who need help.

In her free time she says that she socializes a lot and enjoys playing hockey and rugby.  She also helps look after her nieces and nephews and assists them with homework.

She has not seen her parents in 13 years and although she tries to speak to them on the phone regularly, she would love to see them again in person.  Being without her parents in South Africa did not discourage her.  She always gave them good news and updates over the phone.  Even though her family is spread over the globe, they are still a support to her, especially her sister Shukri.  If it was not for her sister Shukri, Bishara would not be the person she is today.

Bishara, and many children like her, receive support for their education from CTRC. This, and many other programmes offered by CTRC, is possible through the generous contributions of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). CTRC works to support the peaceful integration of refugees and asylum seekers in Western and Eastern Cape by offering a supportive network of services and advocating for refugee rights and empowering refugees to become self-reliant.



For more information about how to assist Bishara or how get involved with refugees in Western or Eastern Cape contact us, go to our contact page or write to us at info@ctrc.co.za