MinnPost: U of M professor captures stories of Somali diaspora

“What I’m basically comparing is the three settlements, three immigration policies and how they shape the migration experience of Somalis,” said Abdi. “In each place, Somalis find certain things that are positive, but also they experience certain challenges that are unique to the context.”

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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Published in: MinnPost
By: Ibrahim Hirsi