Saskatchewan·Creator Network

What is home when you're part of a diaspora?

Rania al-Harthi has lived in Regina for a decade. But does that make it her home?

Artist and mother Rania al-Harthi reflects on her sense of belonging when home is away from a homeland.

CBC Creator Network: Diaspora

11 months ago
Duration 5:12
Rania al-Harthi lives in Regina now, but moved there from Jordan. Her father is from the Palestinian Region and her mother is from Russia. In this short film for CBC's Creator Network, al-Harthi explores the question, "what is home?" when you are part of a diaspora. Video credit: Maria Azam, Rania al-Harthi, Ammara Syeda, Cyril Chen. For more information about the Creator Network, go to

Rania al-Harthi has lived in Regina for a decade.

But does that make it her home?

For al-Harthi, home is a construct, determined not only by physical location but by history, memories, and connections to the community and the land.

Rania al-Harthi is part of a diaspora — a group of people who have moved away or been forced from their established or ancestral homeland.

Rania al-Harthi sits on a bench in Regina, where she has lived since moving from Jordan. (Rania al-Harthi)

She was born in Zarqa, Jordan, to a father of Palestinian origins. He left the West Bank in 1967, and was forced to move to a refugee camp in Jordan.

Her mother was Russian, a place al-Harthi's family visited every summer. She remembers travelling to the Dead Sea, and knowing they were almost there when she could lick her hand to taste the salt in the humid air.

Rania al-Harthi with her mother and sister in Russia. (Rania al-Harthi)

The question, "where is home?" has always been tough for her to answer. She says her sense of loss — of land, friends and family — came with a need to belong.

Al-Harthi came to Canada in 2010 to go to school. She works in settlement service helping newcomers to Saskatchewan.

She is also an independent artist working in theatre, film and visual arts on Treaty Four Territory. She says she feels a connection between the fertile ground in her motherland and the land here that is feeding the world.

These days, al-Harthi's idea of home is wherever her daughter Sophia is. Sophia also sees "home" as where her mother is, whether in Regina or on a visit to one of the places connected to their family, such as Jordan and Russia.

Clockwise from top left: Rania al-Harthi with her parents and sister in Russia, on a family vacation in Turkey, with her daugher Sophia in Regina, and as a teenager visiting Syria. (Rania al-Harthi)

Together the pair is forging a future, but also staying connected with their culture through food, music, dance and art — including Palestinian embroidery and Arabic calligraphy.

Sophia loves to practice her words in Arabic. They also sing a Russian lullaby together every night before falling asleep in the home they've created here.

Rania al-Harthi and her daughter Sophia enjoy a night out in Regina. (Rania al-Harthi)

CBC's Creator Network is looking for emerging content creators to make short videos (5 minutes and under) for an 18 to 30-year-old audience. Content creators can be writers, filmmakers, vloggers, photographers, journalists, artists, animators, foodies or anyone else with a compelling idea and visual plan for bright and bold content. Learn how to pitch your idea here.


Anna-May Zeviar is the Creator Network producer for CBC Saskatchewan. She also produces the CBC Saskatchewan News at Six. Anna-May has worked at CBC since 2000, starting in Vancouver. She's worked in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan as a reporter, writer, host, and producer. If you have story ideas or a pitch for the Creator Network, email