Family and Parenting

Seattle Somali mother of three goes back to school to earn her masters

“I FELT THE ONLY WAY I COULD MAKE MY CHILDREN RESPECT, VALUE, AND STAY OUT OF HARMS WAY WAS TO GO THE EXTRA MILE WITH THEM AND PURSUE AN EDUCATION WITH THE FOCUS OF – IF I COULD DO IT SO CAN THEY.”

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Saida Alim. My story is not really incredibly amazing or undoable in any shape or form. I am just another ordinary Somali person whom Allah Subhanawata’allah has given an opportunity to be where I am today. I came to this country in 2001 with my children. I worked in retail for several years and realized that most people who were working in these lines of work were mostly immigrants with basically nothing; or very little power to advocate for themselves. I knew then, even though I have always loved education that this was not something I wanted for myself or for my children; (So I went back to school).

What inspired you to pursue your masters?

I felt the only way I could make my children respect themselves, value themselves, and stay out of harm’s way was to go to the extra mile with them and pursue an education with the focus of – if I could do it so can they.

Why Social Work?

This is something Somali people do not understand the benefit associated with but because we don’t have social workers in the community, our young men and girls suffer. Social workers do more than just take children from families who neglect them. Social workers understand and evaluate social issues, such as what our community is dealing with right now. As community, we do not actively participate in changes that impact our children. For example, we left our country because of civil war but we continue to behave like we are still living in Somalia. This will not help us raise vibrant, active, resilient, and talented boys or girls because they are disconnected from their parents who are still living in the old Somalia. All the children who are either brought or born here in America have a confused sense of not belonging or identity crisis. This gap created issues of not being able to communicate with each other. Therefore, our boys are being processed through the prison industrial complex; unlike any other immigrant community.

Was it challenging to pursue this as a mother?

Being mother of two boys and a girl I did not want my children to only experience life through that narrative of stay home mom. On the contrary, as a Somali mother, it pained me to see our children get killed, jailed, and our community being talked about in every discussion. Yet, no one is doing anything to change the vision. The plight boys get worse and things are not happening any different. I love and live for my children and I know every Somali parent feels the same way. However, we as Somali community members are living in this country and need to take part in these policies. Our children need to see active parents that work hard and live balanced life. We need to engage them in the family discussion and decision-making process to close the general gap of miscommunication. We know how to make babies but we as community failed to prepare our children for this country because we ourselves are ill prepared for this country.

What advice do you have for Somali mothers who also want to pursue education?

We as Muslims and Somali community need to believe in our strength, resiliency and motivate the youth to fellow in our footsteps. There is nothing inspirational about fathers who are not engaged and mothers who are busy everyday cooking and cleaning while the fathers are missing from the picture. Think about your children. Be the role model they don’t get from the mainstream society. Children are impressionable and need positive images of their own people. By getting an education our children will be inspired by their own community { Mother} rather than copying other people who may not believe what we believe in or value what we value.

AllthingsSomali continues to collect and archive positive Somali stories, If you like to join the force email us at Allthingssomali@gmail.com

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