MinnPost: U of M professor captures stories of Somali diaspora

By Ibrahim Hirsi

Elusive Jannah by Cawo M. AbdiOver the past two decades, tens of thousands of Somalis escaping the unrest in their country have made Minnesota their home. Often times, they come here after years in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.   

In Minnesota, while some thrive economically, many struggle to make ends meet. A University of Southern California study noted last year that more than 55 percent of Somalis in the state live in poverty.

“They start at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder of the U.S. population,” Abdi explained. “And all of a sudden, almost within days and months, reality sinks in. That can create cultural shock in a sense. But also disillusionment, in terms of what they expected and what they encountered in everyday living reality.”

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