Originally from Ethiopia, Qaabata moved to Canada in 2017. Before coming to Canada, Qabata lived in Kenya for eight years with most of it in Kakuma refugee camp. He is a former refugee freelance journalist and founder of KANERE (https://kanere.org/) - an independent refugee lead media organization in Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp. He has worked with several International Human Right and Humanitarian Agencies including the UNHCR, International News Services, Amnesty International, and local government partners in Kenya in refugee-related initiatives since 2007.
In Canada, Qaabata has been engaged in working with the Immigrant Service Society of British Columbia and provides resettlement services for the refugees and newcomers in the province. He is currently working as a Job Developer with Progressive Intercultural Society of British Columbia. He continues contributing to D+C Development and Cooperation magazine in Germany on themes of migration - while supporting KANERE remotely.
In April, 2022: Qaabata traveled on a mission to serve as the first Activist/Scholar-in-Residence for Virginia Tech’s Center for Refugee, Migrant, and Displacement Studies. His experience and knowledge has provided a critical perspective to forced migration studies as a journalist's experience of covering war and as a refugee.
Qaabata sees refugee issues as a permanent catastrophe and endless emergencies. Offering his unique ideas and expertise from media and communication perspective to RAN, Qaabata hopes the initiative tackles the root causes of the forced displacement and helps the refugee humanitarian agencies look for a robust solution for refugees with access to sustainable shelter, food, education, protection, and resettlement rather than providing temporal services, and to establish mechanisms of finding accountability in refugee camps.
As a former refugee freelance journalist, Qaabata hopes the refugee leaders use the RAN initiative as a platform where they highlight the refugee voice to be taken into account in the developing policy both within Canada and internationally.