Amal joins the OSCS Board of Directors, bringing with her a rich understanding of the immigrant experience and a passion to serve her Somali-American community.
A Somali-born immigrant herself, Amal moved with her family to Egypt as a young woman, where she studied business administration before starting a career with relief organizations. Working in Cairo as a psychosocial worker for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, she helped assess refugee families for mental health referrals. Amal has also served as a grant writer and an Arabic and Somali teacher for refugee women.
Immigrating with her family to Minnesota in 2013 brought Amal to a new community where she put her experience to work as an employment counselor for Somali immigrants. Within the next 5 years, she plans to complete a degree in social work so she can better address the health concerns she sees in her clients – especially post-traumatic stress, depression, and stigmas surrounding mental illness.
Amal was excited to become involved with OSCS because she sees the great need for the classes and services the ELC offers. She often brings new students to us. “We [at my work] encourage ESL classes right away because there is no quicker way to learn the culture and gain employment,” she says, explaining that most of her clients arrived in Minnesota within the last 5 years.
As Amal reflects on her motivation to serve as a board member, she says,
“I understand the immigrant experience – I speak the language, I know the culture – and while I gain skills to help my community, I can help OSCS provide the best immigrant-centered services possible.”