Amoune Omer & Mahamud Elmi
The Somali Hope Foundation was co-founded by Amoune Omer and Mahamud Elmi, who were born in Somalia and arrived in Canada as refugees. They know first-hand the power of education, community, and hope. They are determined to share the transformative opportunity of education with youth in Somalia and around the world.
Mahamud and Amoune married in 2006 and have three children together. When Mahamud and Amoune met, they were two individuals with different upbringings who shared many similar traits. They shared a great love for giving back to others. Their experience as immigrants to Canada means that both of them appreciate the privilege of possessing things that many around the world are unable to enjoy; for example, education, which is why they decided in 2008 to begin to build and open a school for children in rural Somalia. They specifically chose rural areas since those tend to be forgotten and public services always arrive there last. As soon as they realized that goal, they began organizing fundraisers. As a result of the continued and supported efforts of the Somali Hope Academy Community in Ottawa and around the world, over 700 students (girls and boys) receive a free, high-quality, and equitable education. Without the support and generosity of our Ottawa community and all over the globe, this project would not have been possible. They are immensely proud of this achievement and grateful for all the support they have received and hope to continue to receive as they move forward. They would like to thank you all from the bottom of their heart on behalf of Hope Academy’s students and community education committee members.
Amoune arrived in Canada with her mother in 1989 at the age of 5. Her mother, who was a single mother at the time, had hoped for a better life for them in Canada. They first arrived in Montreal where she lived most of her young life. She started in Harfang-des-Neiges elementary school and high school at Dorval-Jean-XXIII. During her last year of high school, Amoune moved to Ottawa and graduated high school in 2002 from école secondaire publique Omer-Deslauriers, a French public high school board – Conseil des écoles publiques de l’est de l’Ontario (CEPEO) in the West of Ottawa. She then pursued the Police Foundation Program at Collège La Cité, graduated in 2004, and was hired by the Canadian Federal Government where she started her career and is currently employed.
Co-Founder | Executive Director
Mahamud Elmi was born in the town of Bursalah, Somalia. As a young boy, Mahamud’s family faced mounting economic challenges as well as a lack of opportunities. As a result, he moved from Bursalah to Mogadishu to stay with extended family in search of a better life. Shortly after, the Somali civil war broke out, causing Mahamud to flee to Kenya. Within the refugee camp, there were no opportunities to pursue an education. Mahamud was 9 years old at the time.
Once he arrived in Canada, Mahamud completed high school in Ottawa and went on to St. Lawrence College in Brockville. He became a respected member of the Ottawa Police Service. He became the first university graduate in his family after attending Carleton University, and later completed his Master’s in Public Ethics at Saint Paul/University in Ottawa.
Mahamud’s singular pursuit of an education proved to be the catalyst propelling him toward his subsequent successes in life.
His education equipped him with the ability to transition from simply surviving to truly thriving. Despite these laudable personal achievements, his longing to make a difference in the country of his birth, a country that has continually suffered immeasurably over the past 30 years, has never diminished.