In Arabic, Abdirizak means powerful and complete. My name is Abdirizak Osman. My name also means servant of the all-provider. I am not a builder but a planner, and I want others to carry out my plans. I’m bold, independent, inquisitive and interested in research. I know what I want and why I want it. Osman means patient, persevering and strong willed. I’m absorbing knowledge easily and retaining it well, I also believe in law, system and order. I may be young (17 years old), but I have experienced the world and humanity in ways that most people never will. Based on the experiences that I have lived through in my life, my outlook reflects one of hope, determination, love, and courage. My story might not be traditional, but it is my own. It is mine to share in hopes that others may find inspiration within their own lives to achieve their dreams and to never give up on themselves.
In 1992, my family escaped the civil war in Somalia and we were randomly selected to live in a refugee camp in Dagahlay, Kenya. I was born in Somalia, in city of Kismaayo.
My family fled from Somalia, due to the civil war. I grew up in a place called Dagahlay refugee camp; the world’s largest camp. I personally had faced many obstacles, including education challenges, social injustice and financial crisis. I have solved my problems through dedication, respect, enthusiasm, passion and patience. I knew that the only way that I could get out of that horrible life is through education. Education is a life long journey, which had unlocked me from the locked doors. I am striving for a better life.
By 2009, we applied for sponsorship to live in the United States and were matched to a humanitarian agency, World Relief, at its local saint paul office. An application was approved for my mom, my brother and I. World Relief helped my mom get a job. My mother was a housekeeper and my brother was too young to work, so my mom had to get a second job to put food on the table. I started school in Talahi elementary school and because I didn’t know English, I went to a class for children to learn English. I had my struggles learning English, but at end of the day we were happy we came to a place where we had choices, opportunities, rights and equality.
When I turned twelve, we moved to Maine. When I first started school, I was confused and intimidated. I was given standardized testing and was expected to perform well in school while not knowing English or grammar. I did not feel prepared to do well in school, and as I didn’t do well, I began to dislike it. I got in trouble from time to time, and I had difficulty with my studies. In time, my family moved to Maine. I began living in Sagamore village, a public housing neighborhood with over two hundred households. I soon learned that although America is a wonderful place for opportunity, It often views those that live in public housing negatively.
There, I was a child that had learned English through conversations with friends that I had just made. We all had similar stories. We represent the face of diversity within a state that doesn’t have much diversity represented. At the neighborhood basketball court, we got through the experience of war, loss, trauma, And hurt without saying anything. We played basketball until the sun disappeared and the neighborhood came alive. At night, we could over hear the arguing inside of the homes of people that struggled with living in poverty. We stuck together. We laughed and supported one another through very tough times. While at school I got in trouble. In my neighborhood I felt accepted. I saw no reason to be anything other than just another kid that might not get very far in life.
In 2015, I found myself discovering who I was and where I wanted to be in life. I started doing my homework regularly, and I have began to establish myself as a leader. I organized my time to allow myself the space to discover the kind of leader that I hope will inspire others. My future is bright, my past represents self- growth and adds to my determination to succeed.
It’s humbling to know I will be the first in my family to attend a four-year college. I come from a single-parent household and my mom has given her entire life so we could do what we love. To make her proud is my number one priority. After my mom, I want to show my nieces and nephews that anything is possible. A boy who came from a refugee camp in Kenya can go to a college in america and can be successful in life. I have grown in many different ways physically and mentally. Now I think about going to college and studying criminal justice. As a child I always wanted to become a police officer, because I wanted to enforce the law and help others feel safe. I’m Abdi. I am smart, I am strong, I am devoted, and I am completely full of potential. My life has been a journey, and I know that the decisions I make now will allow me to be successful In life I’m powerful, I am determined, and I know that through helping others I will achieve fulfillment and happiness throughout my lifetime.