Fatima Molas- Mother, chairperson of Multicultural Autism Action Network and Former Refugee

Mohamed Malim

My name is Fatima Molas. I am from Somalia. I've been in the U.S since 1998 from Kakuma refugee camp. I was a teenager when I came, about six-teen years old. I first landed in Arizona with my family. At that time, we were sponsored by the Red Cross. It was very interesting because we were in an apartment full of refugees from all over the world and it was a moment of happiness. Seeing people all over the world and we all had the common goal to provide for our families. Coming to the U.S I had so much excitement, nervousness, and overall it was amazing. We came in the middle of night excited because it was big deal coming to a new country. 

Growing up in America was very challenging, because of the language barrier, the culture clash and the food was so different. I remember I was eating fries and ice cream a-lot. One of my first jobs was working at Mcdonalds and looking back it was funny because of the food I was eating. I can't ever forget those moments when I arrived here. It was a beauty within the struggle. After working for a few years, I moved to Minnesota and started working in the hospital.The community here was one of the best communities in America. I mean, we have the biggest Somali population outside of the country Somalia. 

Empowering the refugee youth is very important, especially getting them education and mentorship. They are the future and we need to take care of them properly. This country has a lot to offer to the youth. If we give them a lot of education early on and provide them with a brother and sister program, we would be able to progress a lot in terms of education and integration. If the youth have a lot of downtime or even not being productive, it would be hard to integrate into the community. We should provide them with activities and so much more. We have to keep them busy at all time and I am big believer in providing them as much education and mentorship as possible. 

My family gives me so much motivation and the community I serve. Coming from a refugee camp was very difficult and it pushes me to become better as a mother and provide for my community as much as I can. Success means to me is having a goal and achieving it. When you give back to the community that's the best feeling ever. Knowing where I come from just helps me be grateful for the opportunities that I have. When I see someone who is struggling even though they have been here for a long time, I try to give them guidance and mentor them. Those are the things that you should do. Everyone has challenges and tribulations but giving a hand is what makes them grow. 

America is literally the only country that you can become whoever you want to be in life. Think about it, we all came from a refugee camp with nothing. Look where we are now. It's a testimony that this country is possible. You can go anywhere in the world but you won't have the opportunities that America has. Point blank. A prime example is Congress women Ilhan Omar, she came from a refugee camp and when she arrived here, she had nothing. Now she is serving one of the biggest leadership roles in the U.S. Dream big and have high expectations and nothing cant stop you! I tell my fellow refugees who are arriving to dream big and anything is possible. You have so many resources around and people are willing to help as long as you are yourself.

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