Refugee Stories

Halima Aden, International Model, Humanitarian, and Somali Refugee

Refugee Stories

Halima Aden, International Model, Humanitarian, and Somali Refugee

My name is Halima Aden and I’m 20 years old. I live in St. Cloud, MN. I model, I talk at schools, and I spread the message of being inclusive. Last November, I participated in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant and was the first person to ever wear a hijab and a burkini. This year, I’m very happy to say that there were seven girls wearing the hijab. It was so exciting for me to see this progression. I want to provide the opportunity for other people to get to know a Somali American girl, a Muslim, someone who wears...

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Tu Lor Eh Paw: Senior at Como Park Senior High, a Burma refugee, and a mentee with the Dream mentorship program.

Refugee Stories

Tu Lor Eh Paw: Senior at Como Park Senior High, a Burma refugee, and a mentee with the Dream mentorship program.

My name is Tu Lor Eh Paw, I am a senior at Como Park Senior High, a refugee, and a mentee with the Dream Refugee mentorship program. Seventeen years ago, on March 9, 2000, I was brought into this world. I was born in the Southeast Asian nation of Burma, now known as Myanmar. I was my parent's youngest child of nine. Our family lived in a small village where only ten families settled; mostly our relatives. My family used the slash and burn technique for farming. It was the only way we could grow food to sustain ourselves.            ...

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Dai Thao - St. Paul City Council member, Mayoral candidate, and Hmong Refugee

Refugee Stories

Dai Thao - St. Paul City Council member, Mayoral candidate, and Hmong Refugee

I’m an IT professional by trade for over 16 years and a community organizer by passion. I’ve been on the Saint Paul city council since 2013. My family came here as refugees in 1983, an action that made all of these experiences possible. In the refugee camps, we were extremely poor. I remember following people through the marketplace, just in case they threw away a chicken bone which would become our meal for the night. During our exile, I lost two sisters and a younger brother. I saw my sister die in front of me. I always thought the U.S....

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Faduma Mohamed - Somali Poet & Autism Awareness Advocate

Refugee Stories

Faduma Mohamed - Somali Poet & Autism Awareness Advocate

My parents met as refugees in Italy. They didn’t believe in the American dream so they wanted to see what the Canadian dream had to offer. I was raised in Toronto, a product of the Toronto community housing system. I started writing out of sheer boredom. Living in poverty, we didn’t have a computer or TV so I started writing. You know how people in class doodle in class when they’re bored? That was me with writing poetry. I had a thing for acting so spoken word came naturally to me in high school. I knew that, had my parents...

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Bayan Tawakalna- Syrian refugee and future Emergency Physician

Refugee Stories

Bayan Tawakalna- Syrian refugee and future Emergency Physician

My name is Bayan Tawakalna. I am a Syrian refugee and this is my story I left my country 6 years ago during the Syrian revolution. I am originally from Damascus and lived my whole life in the countryside. We moved to many different places in Syria for about a year until we had to flee in 2012 and go to Egypt. I stayed in Egypt with my mom and two younger siblings while my dad went to the United States to get asylum in hopes to find a safe place for us to start a new life. Life in...

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