“My name is Mohamed Abdulkadir. I came to Minnesota from Somalia in 1994 because of the civil war happening in my country.
“I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived in the United States. Finding jobs and trying to adjust to a new country and culture was difficult at the beginning. But at least we had help from people from the organization that brought us here, so that made our lives a little easier, but it was still tough. I didn’t have a car or driver’s license, and the jobs were far away from the area where we were living so we had to carpool. Sometimes, we would have to wake up early in the morning to call people to try to find a ride to work. It was tough in the beginning.
“In all of the work that I’ve done since coming to America, I’ve been trying to empower youth, to offer the help they need to succeed. If they need a job, I try to find out what obstacles they face to getting a job. Do they need training? If so, we work with different organizations to provide that training.
“Finding solutions to problems gives me energy. I try my best to understand a problem and then put people together to find a solution.
The need itself gives me energy. When I see a need, all I can think about is finding a solution. “America is so special because sometimes you feel the playing field is level in a way. There are always obstacles, but there are different organizations that empower refugees by offering education and other support systems for immigrants. Personally, I put all of my energy into using education to empower refugees, because education has the power to change everything. My entire personal philosophy revolves around education for empowerment.”