“There were 14,000 people in the Ethiopian refugee camp. Since I was a teenage girl alone, I was afraid to stay by myself, so I lived first with one family, then another, but by my last year there, I lived by myself because I became strong.
“Back in Somalia, my father had taught us reading, writing, English, and Arabic. The first two years in the camp, I didn’t go to school, but then I took an exam and was placed in 9th grade. I completed 11th grade in the camp. After five years in Ethiopia, I got a chance to come to the United States. I wasn’t scared. I knew about America from studying in school, and when I found out I was coming, I looked on the Internet to learn more about it. I’ve been here for one year and one month.
“Now I’m working two jobs. One is with Ekata Designs, where I’m making jewelry, practicing business skills, and making additional income. I am saving money for my future and also sending money back home to help my family. My parents have left Somalia and live in Ethiopia now.”