Courageous return

Amanda Lindhout has certainly conquered any fears of returning to a country where she experienced her darkest days. The former Central Alberta freelance journalist recently journeyed to Somalia which is in the grip of one of the worst famines in history.

Lindhout was held captive in Somalia for 15 months and released in late 2009. In the summer of 2008, she headed to the country while researching a story on the conditions of an internally displaced people’s camp outside Mogadishu.

On her third day there, she was kidnapped and held hostage for 460 days. She was eventually released after a ransom payment was delivered to her captors.

Now the founder and director of The Somali Women’s Scholarship Program, Lindhout has since spoken many times about the need for compassion, the triumph of personal transformation and the process of forgiveness.

Her mission is to help educate women in Somalia – one of the poorest places on earth that has also seen almost constant internal conflict for decades as well.

Her most recent return has been fueled by the famine crisis, and she has delivered thousands of dollars worth of food to the region. According to the Red Cross, a cycle of severe droughts has led to a humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa (which includes Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Uganda).

It is estimated that nearly 11 million people have been affected, many fleeing their homes and are now left with limited access to food, clean water and shelter.

Since her return to Africa, Lindhout is often asked how she could come back to a place which caused her so much pain. She responds by saying that she made a commitment to herself while in captivity that she would one day do what she could to help people trapped in such dire poverty and seemingly endless cycles of violence.

She often tries to point to the positives about the Somalian people in general as well, and seems almost hesitant to dwell on her horrendous experiences in the nation.

What strength this would take – it’s a true inspiration and virtually unimaginable to the average person that someone would move past their own trauma and give back so generously. This is her whole focus now; her life’s work.

Lindhout is far from average. Only four months after her release, she also established the Global Enrichment Foundation. From that the Somali Women’s Program was launched as a means to empower the most oppressed members of Somali society – women.

For more information on the Global Enrichment Foundation, visit

Just Posted

Rebels lose 13th straight against Kamloops

Red Deer hasn’t won on home ice since Oct. 28th, 2017

Kings and Queens sweep Briercrest

RDC basketball is begining to gear up for the ACAC playoffs

WATCH: Setters Place officially opens in advance of the 2019 Canada Games

Red Deer is one step closer to the 2019 Canada Winter Games the opening of Setters Place

City council approves operating budget to a tune of $364 million

The 2.02% hike includes 1% for capital investment and 0.11% for the carbon tax

Province not providing aid to Red Deer for its June storm

Cause of storm wasn’t ‘extraordinary’ according to province

WATCH: Alberta Party leadership candidates present visions to Red Deerians

Party members will vote for their new leader on Feb. 7th

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Canadian band to get top honours at 2018 JUNO Awards

Most Read