Somalia, located in the horn of Africa, is said to be home to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world at this time. The following are some estimates concerning this crisis:
- More than 300,000 internally-displaced individuals live in Mogadishu, the capital city.
- Up to 1.5 million Somalis have been internally displaced within their own country.
- Nearly an additional 1 million Somalis are seeking refuge in neighboring countries outside of Somalia.
- The largest refugee camp in the world is south of Somalia in Dadaab, Kenya, and holds more than 463,000 Somalis.
Minnesota now hosts more Somali refugees than anywhere else in the United States, estimated to be as many as 75,000. They have come here as victims of civil war, famine, and often having witnessed other tragedies. A lot of Somalis, particularly in Minneapolis, have shown that they have a strong entrepreneurial drive. I’ve enjoyed walking through two Somali malls in Minneapolis, “Karmel” and “24,” and my favorite Somali coffee shop, “1st Cup Cafe,” has been full of people every time I’ve been there.
St. Paul seems to be uncharted territory for Somali business ventures, but we’re hoping that St. Paul Cultural Village will be a good avenue to see that changed. For a number of months now, a group of Somali ladies have been coming into International Village on Rice Street for free ESL classes.
This 8.5-minute video clip portrays the typical journey of Somalis who found themselves experiencing refugee life in Ethiopia or Kenya:
This 2-minute clip describes some of the struggles that Somali young people have experienced since coming to the United States: