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Calgary’s Ethiopian community helping American family devastated by crash that killed three children in Alberta


Meseret Shiferaw deadly crash

Ethiopian communities across borders are working together to help an American family bring their three deceased children home.

Last Wednesday, a collision between an SUV and a semi-trailer in southern Alberta resulted in the death of an 11-month-old girl, an 11-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl. The siblings’ parents, Meseret Shiferaw and Soloman Adugna, survived the crash and remain in stable condition at the Foothills hospital.

But they’re a long way from home and it could cost up to $30,000 to transport the parents and deceased children back to Spokane, Washington.

Adugna’s cousin, who lives in the U.S., set-up a fundraising campaign to help cover the costs and members of Calgary’s Ethiopian community are joining forces with them to raise the necessary funds.

“When something like this happens, everyone comes together,” said Anwar Sultan, who is heading the efforts in Calgary.

The family was visiting a relative in Saskatchewan and planned to stop in Calgary to visit a friend before returning home. That’s when the crash happened at the intersection of Highway 36 and Highway 570 in Hanna, approximately 220 km east of Calgary.

Sultan said language and cultural barriers — not to mention being outside of one’s own country — can make it difficult for people to access help after tragedies. When Sultan heard about the crash on the news, he and other members of the Ethiopian community immediately offered their help to Shiferaw and Adugna.

“It’s especially hard for this kind of community that see everything in the eyes of a new generation — in their kids,” he said.

Most Ethiopians living in Canada come from hardships and many times refugee camps. They come to Canada to start a new life, a new beginning and hope their children will never have to think about the hardships their parents went through in Ethiopia or in different camps, explains Sultan.

That’s what makes this tragic loss so difficult, he said.

“If you go to the hospital to see the family, you will see Ethiopian Canadians from all walks of life that don’t know each other but they know it’s one of them that is impacted,” he said. “They cry together, they mourn together.”

The online fundraiser has raised more than $10,000 of the $30,000 goal, as of Sunday afternoon, thanks to the donations from both Americans and Canadians. Sultan said the Calgary community has offered incredible support since the accident and that Ethiopians from across North America have been reaching out to lend a hand in helping Shiferaw and Adugna.

“We have to stand up for one another,” said Sultan.

An investigation into what caused the collision is still underway.


Posted by on August 25, 2017. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.