“All of my children speak English, and I couldn’t understand what they would say. Now I understand, and they can’t hide anything from me!”
The night Shukri fled her home in Somalia she truly believed she was going to die. When she survived, Shukri’s biggest concern was not for herself but for others she saw in need. As soon as she arrived in a refugee camp in Kenya, she began organizing. She went from tent to tent requesting extra food from everyone who could give it and redistributing what she collected to those who needed it most.
After twenty years in the camp, Shukri came to the United States. The transition was easier because she was reuniting with family in Minnesota. Still, she heard the United States was a more individualistic culture and wasn’t sure how much help others would offer. She remembers the first time she saw someone who was homeless. “I felt so sad. It made me realize we all need each other and can’t survive without one another.”
Today, Shukri is an anchor of our school community. She continues her service to others as a volunteer in the morning lower level math class, before attending class herself in the evening. She says, “When I see the students benefit, it makes me feel very good!” Shukri’s smile and friendly nature help new students and teachers feel welcomed and included.
However, Shukri feels that she is only giving back what she has received. Without the English Learning Center, Shukri believes her life would be very difficult. “All of my children speak English, and I couldn’t understand what they would say.” Now I understand, and they can’t hide anything from me!”