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Somali Students

In Minnesota
By: David Kubacki, Katie Bodin, & Amy Feit
MAT Students
Hamline University
GED 7862
Spring 2005
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Somali Students in Minnesota

Table of Contents
Introduction….…………………………………….3
History……………………………………………..3
Culture………………………………………..……5
Religion……………………………………5
Language…………………………………..6
Dress/Clothing…………………………….7
Marriage………………………………...…7
Art…………………………………………8
Food……………………………………….8
Famous Somali People/Activists………………….9
Somalis in Minnesota and the Classroom…….....10
Tips for Teachers………………………………...10
Situational Analysis……………………...11
Conclusion…………………………………..…...13
Resources………………………………………..13
References……………………………………….17
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Introduction
Only thirty percent of Somali students will graduate from high school in the United States
(Amakulo, 2005). Statistics such as this define the need for the education of teachers in the
Somali culture. Somalia has endured a history of war, civil unrest, turmoil, and devastation. The
students have experienced a life of movement between countries, refugee camps, and relocation
to communities and schools in the United States. This paper seeks to investigate Somali history,
culture, and experiences as a means to educate teachers in alleviating the achievement gap in
relation to Somali students. The achievement gap is low graduation rates as a result of cultural
misunderstandings and stresses of life experiences of war and refugee camps.

Caveat
As graduate students in Hamline University’s Masters of Arts in Teaching Program, we
have compiled this investigation on Somali culture through interviews, community visits, and
literature reviews. Please be advised that we are not experts.

History of Somalia
The Horn of Africa, the body of land in East Africa that
juts out into the Indian Ocean, has been inhabited by Somalis
for centuries. Just across the Gulf of Aden, which borders
Somalia to the north, lays the Arabian Peninsula. Before
colonialism, “Somalis enjoyed trade and cultural ties with the
Arabian Peninsula, as well as Egypt” (Farid & McMahan, 2004,
p. 11). These regions greatly influenced Somali language,
customs, clothing, architecture, and the adoption of Islam
among the Somali people.

Territorial Split
In the late 1800’s Great Britain, Italy, and France began
to compete for territory in the region of Somalia. In the north of
present-day Somalia, British Somaliland was established, and
Italian Somaliland established in the south. Up until this time,
the Somali were primarily a nomadic people. French Somaliland
Map of Somalia was established around present-day Djibouti, which borders
(Image from Lonely Planet)
Somalia to the north (CultureGrams Somalia, 2002). However,
the Somali opposed colonialism and launched a rebellion
against Britain that lasted from 1900-1920. The rebellion failed, but it intensified Somali
nationalism (CultureGrams Somalia, 2002).
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Somali Republic Tension


In 1960, British and Italian Somalilands gained their independence and united to form the
Somali Republic. However, Britain had divided some of Somalia’s territory and given it to
Ethiopia and Kenya in the process. The goal of the Somali Republic was to unite all of Somali
territory under one flag (Farid & McMahan, 2004, p.12). As a result, tensions formed between
Somalia and the neighboring states of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti. This was occurring during
the time of the Cold War, and according to Farid & McMahan (2004), the Soviets supported the
Somali while the United States supported Ethiopia and Kenya. The United States and the Soviet
Union supplied arms to their respective allies, and this forced Somalia to focus its resources on
building a strong army and paramilitary government, while neglecting education and
infrastructure (Farid & McMahan, 2004).
In 1969, General Mohammed Siyad Barre took power and declared Somalia a socialist
state (CultureGrams Somalia, 2002). According to Farid & McMahan (2004), Barre ousted
traditional, wise leaders and manipulated rival clans against each other. In 1977, a war between
Somalia and Ethiopia began over disputed territory. This time, Barre decided to side with the
United States, and, in response, the Soviets provided arms to Ethiopia. Farid & McMahan
(2004) explain that “people did not know how to live with a centralized economy where the
government was the only provider…As people began to feel the poverty , those with education
and means began to leave Somalia” (p. 15).

Civil War
By the mid-1980’s, Somalia became overrun with clan-
based opposition movements and militias. The country slipped
into anarchy (Farid & McMahan, 2004).
All-out civil war broke out in 1991, and Somalia has
been without a central government since (U.S. Department of
State, 2005). In 1993, Kenya opened its border to Somali
refugees fleeing a country ravaged by war and starvation.
According to data from the U.S. Department of State (2004),
the present political situation in much of Somalia is marked by
inter-clan fighting and random banditry, with some areas of peace and stability.

Refugee Life
Since the war started, thousands of Somalis have left their homes and taken up residency
in refugee camps throughout Africa and the Middle East. Being a refugee is different from being
an immigrant in that refugees flee their country because of persecution. The United Nations High
Commission for Refugees (2003) reports that over 400,000 Somalis were living in refugee camps
and in 2003, alone, over 21,000 had applied for asylum in foreign countries. There are over
20,000 refugees estimated to be living in Minneapolis alone, and the number is rapidly growing
(Amakulo, 2005).
Life in a refugee camp would be somewhat safer than living amidst the civil war, but it
would nevertheless be harsh. According to Human Rights Watch (1995), refugees walked for
miles through upper Somalia over the Kenyan border to refugee camps. About 80% were women
and children. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of these women and girls, aged four to fifty were
victimized by sexual assault and violence. Refugees also faced malnutrition, desert heat, and lack
of medical supplies. A Somali man quoted in Refugee Reports (Dennefer, 2004) remembers,
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“We just ate maize and beans, there was no medicine, people were dying from malnutrition.” In
some camps, due to fighting, death and serious injury occur every day (Human Rights Watch,
2003).

Asylum in Minnesota
As the war continues, Minnesota’s Somali population has also continued to grow. In hope
of a better life, many refugees have up and left Somalia, only applying for asylum once they
have reached the country. Minnesota is believed to have the highest Somali population in the
United States.

Culture

Religion1
Somalis are part of the large population of
Sunni Muslims in the world. They believe that
their spiritual beliefs follow them in every facet of
life. The “role of man in this planet is to be the
vice-gerent of Allah” (Farid and McMahan, 2004.
p. 5). Muslims enact Six Articles of Faith and
Five Pillars of Islam at all times in their lives.
They live their lives by how the Qur’an dictates.

The Five Pillars of Islam


o Muslims profess that Mosque Mogadishu, Somalia
they are monotheistic and there is no
God but Allah.
o Muslims perform five daily prayers.
o Charity is given before Allah.
o The Holy Month of Ramadan dictates fasting.
o All Muslims pursue the Pilgrimage to Makkah once.

An interesting fact about the Islamic faith, which has wrongly been displayed falsely in the
United States, is that the Islamic word Jihad actually means peace, not holy war.

Holidays
Given that the Islamic faith dictates much of the life that the Somali people live, they also
celebrate holidays that are Islamic as well. The Islamic holidays occur on the twelve-month,
lunar calendar. Of the twelve months, Ramadan and Dhul Haj are most important.

1
All information regarding Islam is taken from Somali Students (2004) by Mohamed Farid and Don McMahan.
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Ramadan is the ninth month, and at the end, the Muslims celebrate Mohamed’s first
revelation of the Qur’an. All Muslims stay awake for 24 hours, give charity, and read the Qur’an.
At this time, Muslims also refrain from eating, drinking, sex, and using body parts in ways that
would make Allah unhappy.
Ramadan ends with a festival, Id-al-Fitir, for three days. Muslim children do not attend
school at this time of festivity. Many gifts and charity are given during this time of celebration.
They celebrate that “Allah allows them to eat and drink as usual during the rest of the year”
(Farid and McMahan, 2004, p.7).
The twelfth month, Dhul Haj, is the largest in celebrations. On the tenth day, Haji,
Muslims celebrate courage and faith. “According to the Qur’an, Allah asked his prophet
Abraham to sacrifice his only son Ismail” (Farid and McMahan, 2004, p.7). The knife did not
kill Ismail, and now Muslims celebrate Allah sparing Ismail’s life. Instead, a sheep was
sacrificed that was brought to Abraham by angels. During the time of Haj is when Muslims are
supposed to make the pilgrimage to Makkah.
Non-Islamic holidays that Muslims celebrate are the independence of Britain and Italy on
June 26th and July 1st. They celebrate the unification of colonies to form the Somali Republic.

Gender Roles

Women
Responsible for taking care of children
Responsible for the household

Men
Provide for families
Disciplinary role with children

Somali Family
(Photo from University of
Queensland)

Language
The Somali culture is primarily orally-sustained in traditions through poetry, stories, and
proverbs. Other than the Qur’an, there was not any form of written text that was important to the
Somali people until 1972. Many Somali people are skilled in the recitation of stories by memory.
“Older Somali people, who grew up never reading a single word, could listen to a story once and
repeat it with exacting detail” (Farid and McMahan, 2004, p.4). Nevertheless, the people were in
need of an alphabet. There had been debate about how to implement a writing system for the
Somali language. In 1972, the government decided on the Roman alphabet.
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Greetings2
“Somali warmly greet each other with handshakes, but shaking hands with the opposite
sex is avoided” (MN Dept of Human Rights, 2005).
• Hello: Ma nabad baa? Reply: Waa nabad.
• How are you: Iska warran?
• What is your name? Magacaa?
• Peace be upon you: Assalam Alaikum
• Is their peace: Nabad miyaa
• Good Morning: Subah wanaagsan
• Good Afternoon: Galab wanaagsan
• Good night: Habeeb wanaagsan
• (http://www.culturalorientation.net/somali/sxpres.html)

Gestures
• A swift twist of the open hand means “nothing” or “no”
• Snapping fingers may mean “long ago” or “and so on”
• A thumb under the chin indicates “fullness”
• It is impolite to print the sole of one’s foot or shoe at another person
• It is impolite to use the index finger to call somebody; that gesture is used for calling dogs
• The American “thumbs up” is considered obscene

Dress
Women usually wear a dress called a direh, “a long, billowing
dress worn over petticoats” (Culture Gram). In the south, the women wear
a piece of cloth that is four yards long, the guntino. They drape it around
their shoulder and wrap their waist. “All women wear shawls and head
scarves” (CultureGrams, 2002).

Men dress in a more western tradition. They wear western slacks,


or “flowing plaid ma’awis (kilt), Western shirts, and shawls” (Culture
Grams, 2002). A colorful turban or embroidered hat adorns most men’s
heads. In some rural cultures, the men wrap many yards of cloth on their
heads and their waists.

Courtship and Marriage


Relationships in small communities are arranged. Only after an arranged marriage has
been planned, can the young couple go on a date. (MN Dept of Human Rights, 2005) Virginity
is a highly valued characteristic of young brides. Marriage to mother’s relatives, in the same
clan, used to be common, before the war. “Weddings are celebrated by both families” (Culture
Grams, 2002). They serve muqmad, dried beef in clarified butter, as part of the celebration
during a wedding. In Somalia, divorce does happen legally.

2
Language phrases and gestures adapted from: www.omniglot.com/writing/somali.htm (2005),
http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Louvre/2521/somali.html#Dictionaries (2005).
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Art
Somali forms of art comply with their Islamic beliefs.
“Somalis embellish and decorate their woven and wooden
milk jugs and their wooden headrests.”
(http://www.culturalorientation.net/somali/sart.html) They
are known for their carpets, jewelry and pottery, as well.

Poetry
The most popular form of art of which the Somali
people are well known is poetry. Somali people are from a
nomadic culture. In this environment of constant relocation,
importance was set on the passing down of stories verbally.
“It is in the art of oral poetry and song that Somalis excel.”
The poetry is different than the American version of the art
form. The people write about love and politics. “The
political poetry is called gabay” (CultureGrams, 2002).
Somali Henna Art During the recitation of poetry, Somali traditions are present.
(Photo from Virtual Tourist)
“Poetry recitations are often accompanied by the chewing of
qat,* a mild stimulant, which many Somalis believe helps one
to think and talk better.” (http://www.culturalorientation.net/somali/sart.html)

Dance
Traditional dance is another art form that the Somali people use during courtship. (MN
Dept of Human Rights)

Body Art
Body art is a form of dress for the Somali women. “Among women, hand and foot
painting, using henna and khidaab dyes, is popular.” The women decorate their hands, wrists,
and feet with designs using the dyes. “Its application often signifies happy occasions, such as a
marriage or the birth of a baby.” (http://www.culturalorientation.net/somali/sfood.html)

Food
Staples of Diet are Milk, ghee (liquid butter), and meat. Since they are a nomadic culture,
they feed off of wild berries, as well. They use sorghum, corn, rice, tea, sugar, dates, condiments,
and occasional vegetables for payment on livestock or as staples of diet.
(http://www.culturalorientation.net/somali/sfood.html)
Although the country is coastal, the consumption of seafood is uncommon. The view of
fish consumption is that one is not skilled as a herdsman, if he resorts to eating fish. Somalis are
forbidden to eat pork and lard or to drink alcohol. The meat must be killed and prepared in a
special way to be xalaal, clean according to Islam. In the United States, the Muslim dietary
requirements are met by kosher foods.
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Famous Somali People/Activists

Omar Jamal, Activist


Omar Jamal, 31, is founder of the Somali Justice Advocacy
Center, which he opened after 9/11. Jamal is often sought out as a
Somali voice in news articles and is known as a critic of the U.S.
government’s treatment of Somali people. This includes cases of
police brutality. His use of non-violence and passive resistance have
yielded comparisons to Martin Luther King, Jr. (Afrah, 2005). Jamal,
was convicted in January 2005 of violating immigration rules. The
charges stated that he had already been granted asylum in Canada
before coming to the United States. He currently faces deportation
rather than prison. Jamal denies the charges and intends to appeal his
case. The Associated Press reports his sentencing is set for 4/7/2005.

Iman, Supermodel
Iman Abdulmajid was born in Mogadishu in 1955. She was
discovered for modeling while attending college in Kenya. A widely
successful model, she now has her own cosmetics line designed
especially for women of color. She has had acting roles in such
movies as Out of Africa (1985), Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country
(1991). She married musician David Bowie in 1992, and lives in New
York. The couple has one child, Alexandria Zahra, born in August
2000. Iman has one other daughter, Zuleka, from her previous
marriage to Spencer Haywood. She released an autobiography in
2001 called I Am Iman in which she talks about being black in the
modeling industry.

Abdi Bile, Distance Runner


Born in 1962, Abdi Bile is from Las Anod,
Somalia. His quick feet won him the 1987 world
champion title in the 1500m (left). He medaled again
in the 1993 World Championships this time taking the
bronze. Bile attended college in the United States. He
gives talks and advice to runners and is a role model
for young athletes. (Bryan, 2004)
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Somalis in Minnesota and the Classroom


According to Farid & McMahan (2004), “Every Somali has been deeply affected by the
civil war” (p.18). This is an important consideration when examining how the Somali settled in
Minnesota, their adjustment to every day life, and the students teachers will encounter in the
classroom. Farid & McMahan (2004) explain that many Somali settled in the Twin Cities based
on word of mouth messages from relatives that the Twin Cities have available accommodation
and provide peaceful surroundings. As a result, members of once rival clans are now living
together within the same community, which can create stressful situations on a daily basis.
Furthermore, the Somali students teachers will have in their classrooms have either spent time in
refugee camps or experience the effects of war through stories told to them by their relatives
(Farid & McMahan, 2004). In order to create a successful and nurturing environment for Somali
students, it is imperative that teachers are aware of their students’ experiences and consider
various strategies that build strong trust and community within the classroom.

Tips for Teachers


Somali students arrive in the United States, take an assessment test, and regardless of
scores, are assigned to a grade in schools according to age (Amakulo, 2005).

Be aware of students: monitor their participation, know their names, look at each
individual (Amakulo, 2005).

Talk to the students individually: do not like to be embarrassed (embarrassment is one of


the worst things for them) (Amakulo, 2005).

Check for understanding by asking follow-up questions: often will say they understand
something, even when they don’t (afraid of being embarrassed) (Amakulo, 2005).

Make lessons challenging. Don’t water down the content for sake of language. Somali
students have a strong desire to learn.

Somali students come from a background rich in oral tradition, and have an ability and
willingness to memorize material. Somali students tend to be concrete thinkers, used to
memorization and recitation, but may have more difficulty with abstract concepts,
especially in a foreign language (Farid & McMahan, 2004).

Somali culture is extremely social and interactive, and students will benefit from
collaborative activities, but may struggle with individual work. Furthermore, what
teachers perceive as cheating may be seen as cooperation among Somali students (Farid
& McMahan, 2004).
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Make students feel comfortable: often very shy, so make an effort to get to know them
personally.

Be aware of religious and cultural practices. Consider that


students may need a place to pray, may fast during religious
holidays, and may not feel comfortable participating in
certain mixed gender activities, such as physical education
(Farid & McMahan, 2004).

Help students use and learn about educational resources,


extra-curricular clubs and activities: often do not know how
to ask for help, use the library, or access educational support.

Planning for graduation from American high schools for the Somali students is like
building a house from the top down—but they can succeed if they put forth huge effort
(Amakulo, 2005).

Try to learn about the culture, backgrounds, and experiences of the students and
incorporate these into lessons.

Make connections with the parents and encourage their involvement in school activities
(Center for Victims of Torture, 2005).

Family obligations to support relatives still in Africa often require students to work
outside of the home. This can conflict with focus on school work.

Understand symptoms of trauma, depression, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and


provide safety, structure, consistency, and a nurturing environment. (Center for Victims
of Torture, 2005).

Situational Analysis

#1: Possible situations in schools can arise between teachers and Somali students. As described
in Somali Students by Farid and McMahan (2004), a teacher may mistakenly think a student is an
orphan because no one in the student’s family shares his or her last name. However, “it is
normal for women not to change their names when they get married” (30). A child’s name
consists of the first name given at birth, the second name after the father, and the third name after
the grandfather. Somali names do not change in the course of a lifetime.
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#2: As discussed by Farid and McMahan (2004), students may display antisocial, defiant, and
even aggressive behavior. An example is of a fourth grade student who would spend the
majority of class time sitting and looking out a window. When the teacher tried to get the
student to change seats, he reacted angrily, shouting and flailing his arms. The teacher called for
a bilingual counselor to intervene who explained that the student believed that the teacher hated
him and forced him to do things. The student was demonstrating symptoms of Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (Farid and McMahan, 2004). In situations like this, it is important to use a clear,
forceful voice and maintain eye contact to diffuse the situation. Also, allow time for the student
to deescalate and then some humor and individual discussion can be used to make the student
feel comfortable and aware of his/her behavior.

#3: It is important for teachers to be aware of differences in perspectives towards learning and
differences in approaches to task completion among Somali students. According to Amakulo
(2005), Somali culture is very communal, which means that neighbors and friends rely on each
other for support and work together for the benefit of the community. This attitude is often
evident in the classroom where Somali students enjoy and excel at group work and cooperative
learning. However, students may apply this attitude towards all work regardless if it is group-
based or individual. Olmstead (2005) explained that, as a result, there is a great tendency for
cheating and copying during individual work and tests. This perception of cheating from a
teacher’s perspective does not necessarily reflect the intent of the Somali students. Students
often work to help each other, and if someone does not know an answer, then one can rely on a
classmate for help. Therefore, it is important for teachers to structure lessons that promote
cooperative learning, and to realize that overcoming “cheating” requires patience, practice, and
understanding.

Conclusion
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Although faced with traumatic memories of war and refugee camps, language and
cultural barriers, and adjustment to life in the United States and in school, the future remains
hopeful for Somali students in U.S. classrooms. In the Twin Cities, home to the largest
community of Somali refugees, many organizations, schools, teachers, and parents are working
tremendously to accommodate and nurture the education of Somali students. However, more
can be done to facilitate the needs of Somali students in the classroom and community. It is
especially important for teachers to further understand Somali culture and student challenges in
order to develop appropriate accommodations and methodologies to enhance educational
experiences. Our goal with this guide book was to provide an introduction to Somali culture,
outline general challenges faced by Somali students, as well as suggest general strategies to
assist teachers in bridging the achievement gap. Our guide book does not provide all of the
answers, but we hope that it will create an awareness among educators and serve as an
introduction into further investigation and understanding of their Somali students.

Resources
Books
Ali, M.O., & Owens, C. (1998). Somali folktales developed by the Lyndale K-6 Community
School. Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis Public Schools. Children’s folktales written in English
and Somali with follow-up activities.

Bryan, N. (2004). Somali Americans. ABDO Publishing Company: Edina, MN. Children’s book
that provides general overview of Somali Americans, culture, and adjustment to life in the
United States.

Farid, M. & McMahan, D. (2004). Accommodating and educating Somali students in Minnesota
schools. Saint Paul, MN: Hamline University Press. Provides an in-depth analysis of Somali
history, culture, and transition to life in Minnesota. Includes tips and strategies for teachers of
Somali students.

Hoffman, M. (2002). The color of home. New York: Phyllis Fogelman Books. Hassan, newly-
arrived in the United States and feeling homesick, paints a picture at school that shows his old
home in Somalia as well as the reason his family had to leave.

Hussein, I. (1997). Teenage refugees from Somalia speak out. New York: The Rosen Publishing
Group, Inc. Children’s book that features profiles of different Somali students living in the
United States.

Nuruddin, F. (2000). Yesterday, tomorrow: voices from the Somali Diaspora. New York: Cassell.
A series of interviews with Somali refugees. Discusses history, culture, and identity.

Journals/Articles
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Abdi, A.A. (1998). Education in Somalia: history, destruction, and calls for reconstruction.
Comparative Education, 34(3), 327-340. Discusses educational system of Somalia, pre-colonial-
present. Excellent source for educational background information.

Alitolppa-Niitamo, A. (2004). Somali youth in the context of schooling in metropolitan Helsinki:


A framework for assessing variability in educational performance. Journal of Ethnic and
Migration Studies, 30(1), 81-106. An analysis of Somali students in Helsinki and discussion of
achievement gap in urban Helsinki. Good tool for comparison of Somali students in the Twin
Cities.

CultureGrams, a division of Millennial Star Network and Brigham Young University (2002).
Somalia. New York: Oxford University Press. Provides general overview of Somali history,
culture, customs, society, and geography.

Movies
Black Hawk Down. (2001). Sony Pictures. Movie portrays ambush of American soldiers in
Mogadishu in 1993. Banned by the Somali community. Hollywood portrayal that reinforces
stereotypes.

Local Organizations
African Community Services: 1305 E. 24th Street, Lower Level Minneapolis, MN 55404 Tel:
612-722-6163. A Community Program dedicated to the assistance of the African people that are
surviving in Minnesota due to refugee programs.

Brian Coyle Community Center – Pillsbury United Communities: 420 15th Ave. S., Mpls., MN
55454. 612-338-5282. www. puc-mn.org. Located in the densely Somali-populated
Cedar/Riverside area of Minneapolis, the Brian Coyle Community Center “offers residents an
institutional-size kitchen, six multi-purpose meeting rooms and a food shelf in addition to the
basic needs, self-sufficiency, youth & volunteer services” through ESL classes, emergency food
shelf, the Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, youth employment, a book mobile, and more.

Center for Victims of Torture:. 717 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: (612) 626-1400, http://www.cvt.org: Helps victims of torture cope in their daily lives.
Provides support network victims and families and resources for teachers.

Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights: 650 3rd Ave S, #550, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (612)
341-3302. http://www.mnadvocates.org/. This organization provides information on the
integration of refugees into Minnesota and providing services to individuals in need of assistance
as a result of torture.

Minnesota Department of Human Rights: 190 E. 5th Street, Suite 700, St. Paul, MN 55101
http://www.humanrights.state.mn.us/somali_culture.html. The Minnesota Department of Human
Rights is responsible for creating a discrimination free society.

Muhamed Buwe Osman. http://www.osmanart.homestead.com/ An art gallery of paintings done


by a Somali artist.
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Somali Family and Youth Assoc. of Minnesota: Hassan Mohamud, President. 612-242-3273.
hmohamud@midmnlegal.org. Provides support for Somali refugees and information about
Somali culture, language, and related resources.

Somalian Women’s Association:


2101 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., MN 55405; 2415 Franklin Ave., Mpls., MN 55405;
2415 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344. 612-870-7001.
www.somalianwomensassociation.org. “The only Somalian organization in the Twin Cities run
by Somalian Women devoted to the special concerns of Somalian women refugees and
welcoming to Somalian women from all clans.” Has programs in ESL and job skills, housing
assistance, employment assistance, culturally appropriate childcare, medical care and health
issues, and more.

National Organizations
Somali Family Care Network: 2724 Dorr Avenue, Suite 102, Fairfax, VA 22031
http://www.somalifamily.org/index.htm.

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants: 1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 200,
Washington, DC 20036. 202-347-3507. www.refugees.org. Current information on refugee and
immigration issues around the world.

International Organizations
United Nations High Commission for Refugees:
Case Postale 2500, CH-1211 Geneve 2 Depot, Suisse. +41-22-739-8111. (E-mails may be
submitted online). www.unhcr.ch. Since its inception in 1951, this agency has worked to protect
refugees and resolve refugee problems. Teacher section on web site contains lesson plans and
other tools for integrating refugee issues into the classroom, as well as other educational
resources such as refugee-themed children’s books.

Pictures
Google Images: http://images.google.com

Multimap website: http://www.multimap.com/ April 7, 2005

Somaliland Forum website: http://www.somalilandforum.com/somaliland/in_pictures/

Websites
CIA- The World Fact Book (2005). The World Fact Book: Somalia. [on-line]
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/docs/refmaps.html: Contains background
information, statistics, and maps of Somalia

Contemporary Africa Database. (2004). People: Abdi Bile.


http://people.africadatabase.org/en/person/14463.html. Provides information on current events
and issues related to Africa.
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Cultural Orientation Website. Sanja Bebic. (2004)


http://www.culturalorientation.net/somali/stoc.html. The Cultural Orientation website is a
resource with information on refugees/immigrants in the United States, specifically Somali.

Link to the Somali alphabet: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/somali.htm. Provides


information about Somali alphabet and shows the Latin-based script.

Link to resource on Somali language:


http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Louvre/2521/somali.html#Dictionaries. Provides information
about Somali language and common words and phrases.

The Abu Hejleh Homepage (2005). The country and people of Somalia. [on-line]
www.hejleh.com/countries/somalia.html: Personal website of a Somali. Contains overviews of
Somali culture, history, and resources.

U.S. Department of State (2005). Background Notes, Somalia. Washington DC: [on-line]
http://www.state.gov/p/af/ci/so/. Informative website that provides background information and
current status of situation in Somali. Contains maps and population, resource, and economic
statistics.
17

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18

Human Rights Watch. (2003). Why refugees leave Kenya’s refugee camps. Hidden in Plain
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