Ted Jaleta remembers walking through the desert after he decided to flee Ethiopia nearly 40 years ago.
Pictures of a young Syrian boy’s body washed up on a Turkish shore are bringing back memories for the Regina motivational speaker of when he came to Canada as a refugee.
“I was homeless, of course, I didn’t have any place to go. I (did) understand I had to work very hard. But knowing you have a home – a second chance – is huge.”
On Friday, Jaleta told News Talk Radio’s MainStreet that leaving his home country of Ethiopia was a very difficult thing to do, but it was a decision that he believes saved his life.
“Hundred per cent certain I’m going to be losing my life (if I stay) so the only option, just to run away.”
It’s a decision many people in Syria are making now. Jaleta pointed out that many people who chose to stay in Syria chose to face war.
Some people have been questioning why Syrians are fleeing their country rather than staying to fight. Jaleta says the people who are dying in Syria aren’t in any position to fight.
“It’s not that easy. Most of the people (who are) victims are innocent people. They’re family – children. How are they going to fight?”
While Jaleta is glad that the boy’s picture is grabbing the world’s attention, he hopes people remember that tragedies like the boy’s death are happening every day – we just don’t see it.
He says coming to Canada gave him a second chance to live his life, and he hopes Canada gives the opportunity to many other refugees to do the same.