Ali Saeed

Barefoot Man is Coming


Current political events have drawn much attention to refugees. There are practical actions we can take to open Canadians’ hands and hearts to help refugees reclaim a sense of home and rebuild identity in our community.


Ali Saeed crossed the Wuchallee desert – 500 kms over 8 days and nights – to escape prison and torture in his homeland of Ethiopia and reach Somalia. There, he was imprisoned and tortured again for promoting free speech and women’s emancipation. The intervention of Amnesty International and the United Nations secured his release in 1984, and with help from the Canadian Embassy he arrived in Canada as a refugee, barefoot.

Since then, Ali has become a successful businessman in Winnipeg, sponsored more than 100 refugees, founded the Ethiopian Society of Winnipeg and co-founded the Winnipeg Multi-Cultural Human Rights Forum. He has received multiple awards for his support of refugees and human rights.