In this episode we talk with Khadra Mohamed about her experience growing up Somali in America. Khadra is a friend of ours and a young professional woman who works as a program coordinator for Girl Scouts ConnectZ bringing programming to girls in underrepresented communities. She has a degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota and has worked with youth in lots of different ways.
Outside of her work with girls Khadra loves going to concerts, sewing, journaling, and hanging out with her siblings. We had a great conversation about her experience growing up in the Somali-Muslim community in central New York, Ohio, and Minnesota, and some of the challenges she and her family have faced. Khadra and her parents and siblings moved to Minnesota to be closer to extended family and found a thriving community where she was able to connect with other Somalis and learn more about her culture and religion. But while the Somali community in the Twin Cities is strong, there are still lots of barriers and misconceptions. Our conversation got deep, and we learned so much from Khadra, but we still had our fun and funny moments 🙂
We learned from Khadra that on top of all the other hard things girls go through in middle and high school, Somali girls are navigating other identities that can make things tough and cause them to be targeted— like being black, Muslim, women, and wearing the hijab, a headscarf many Muslim women wear to connect to their religion.
Khadra talks about how Somalis are storytellers and poets, how important it is to have the support of family and community and always have each other’s backs, and the significance and deep love of good food!
Our takeaways— Somali girls are smart, cool, and creative, and are a thriving, incredible force. We can support Somali girls in our own communities by reaching out with resources and opportunities. Girls can reach across cultures and learn about their peers and neighbors, breaking down the barriers that can keep us from making friends and supporting other girls.
Not sure where to start? Do some research, learn about Somali culture, educate yourself! We all have things that make us unique, but also things in common. Reach out and find out what those things are! Check out this great blog post Khadra wrote on supporting Muslim girls to learn more.
Stay tuned at the end for Would You Rather, then we’ll feature a girl from one of Khadra’s Girl Scout troops in Girls Pick!