Community Educator, and Entrepuneur

Mohamed Malim

My name is Elham. I am originally from Ethiopia, the northern part of Tigray. I came to the United States with my mom as a young child. I came here to build a better life with my father, who was also here. But growing up, some obstacles as a refugee and immigrant are language barriers for sure. There is prejudice that you deal with, especially in the school system and how I dealt with it. I really looked and leaned into my teachers for resources and also my parents, some stereotypes that I dealt with where that we're uneducated, we're here just to take over and take from people, but that's not the truth.


There were many challenges I faced as a refugee. To name a few, prejudice, language, and cultural barriers, especially having parents who were not accustomed to American culture and lifestyle. It was very difficult for me and my family. For example, some misconceptions I’ve faced are immigrants or refugees are uneducated or illegal. I’ve often witnessed people treating us differently because we’re not American by default. It’s important to know refugees and immigrants just want a fair and equal opportunity to build a successful, happy, healthy, and safe life in America. We can empower the immigrant and refugee communities by providing support and resources. In addition, it’s important to educate those who have misconceptions about refugees.

My definition of success is financial stability. Being healthy and happy overall with life. Ultimately, I want my family to live the life they’ve always worked so hard to achieve. My motivation comes from my parents and many other refugees and immigrants who’ve sacrificed so much to be here in America and build a new life. Everyone across the world, especially in 3rd world countries, looks at America as the golden country. The one where they can come to and live the American Dream. America offers opportunities to people who come from all walks of life and I believe that’s what makes America so unique. America can empower refugees by opening their doors and giving them the opportunity to build a new life because many of us are escaping war, political tension, famine, etc.

The truth is we're really here just for a better opportunity and to build a better life for our family. I think education is key. Educating people on who immigrants are and refugees. Be open-minded. Find a group of people who give you a sense of community. Great opportunities here. If you come here and get an education and figure out what exactly you want to do when you get in that lane and in that path, you will succeed.

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