Helping refugees resettle in Chicago

by RefugeeOne
Nov 1, 2012

Twenty Years in the Making

Mohamed Kabiro’s Story

Once a successful fisherman catching over 600 pounds of fish a day in the coastal city of Baraawe, Somalia, Mohamed Kabiro never imagined how greatly his world would change in the upcoming years.

In 1991 a union of armed clan groups brought the long-standing military government of Mohamed’s home country down. After the fall of the military dictatorship in Somalia, different groups began competing for power and soon after a civil war broke out.

During the war he was separated from his family. Alone and fearing for his safety, Mohamed got on his fishing boat and fled to the city of Mombasa in the neighboring country of Kenya. He received warm greetings in Kenya and relocated to Barawan Refugee camp. The camp was well funded by international organizations and food was plentiful, Mohamed felt welcomed. He knew that when it came to his fate—he had been luckier than many others from his village. After seven years, Mohamed was surprised to learn he was being relocated due to the closing of Barawan Refugee Camp.

He was moved almost 1,000 miles away to Kakuma Refugee camp, a camp where conditions were considerably worse. Mohamed remembers his time at Kakuma as very difficult. Donor support was scarce because of the many conflicts going on all around the world. When asked about his daily struggle in Kakuma he replied, “There were shortages of food, and water was very scarce.” Kakuma refugee camp also struggles with the spread of communicable diseases and malaria. During his 12-year stay Mohamed spent his time as a sanitation worker, trying to help keep the camp safe and clean.

During the summer of 2012 he received news that he had been approved for resettlement in the United States. Although he felt nervous about moving to an unknown place alone, Mohamed was yearning for a fresh start. He arrived in Chicago on July 10, 2012.  Having spent the majority of his life in refugee camps he cannot even begin to express how grateful he is to be here.

Within two months Mohamed secured a job. He thanks RefugeeOne for helping him to get settled and providing him with the tools to start his journey off on the right foot. Mohamed feels very lucky to be in this country. With that luck he feels, comes a responsibility to help the people in his country who were not as fortunate as he was. Mohamed’s dream is to give back to Somalia. He hopes to work hard and save enough money, to send back relatives, who are still suffering in the refugee camps. Mohamed is so thankful for all the help he has received during an uncertain time of transition. After 20 long years, Mohamed turns the page to a new chapter in his life, ready and excited for the future.

Your support of this project helps us to continue serving refugees like Mohamed who are resettled in the Chicagoaland area.



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Organization Information


Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Kim Snoddy
Chicago, IL United States
$49,861 raised of $80,000 goal
442 donations
$30,139 to go
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