When he was 26 years old, Osman fled to Uganda to escape the civil war that has ravaged Somalia for nearly 30 years. As a young college graduate, Osman already had experience as an educator. During his five years in Nakivale, a Ugandan refugee camp, he used these skills to teach young refugee students biology, chemistry, economics, and history.
Seeking a better life, Osman and his wife, Amina, applied to the UNHCR and were resettled in Houston, TX. They had no belongings, no savings, only a strong determination to rebuild their lives. Through the Alliance, they received housing assistance, basic necessities, one-to-one social services and guidance on navigating the city. They were also enrolled in the Matching Grant program, which provided for their basic needs while they became independent. Through these services, Osman was able to find employment and buy a car. Osman worked and volunteered with the Language without Boundaries Interpreting Program. Still, he remembers, “My intention was use my community development skills.” In 2013, Osman was excited to join the Alliance team as a case manager. For two years, Osman has been providing services to fellow refugees. His empathy and belief that “being a refugee does not mean you lack the ability to shine” instills hope in newly arrived newly-arrived refugees. Just recently, Osman has begun classes at Houston Community College to earn a degree in engineering. “Fifteen years from now,” he says, “I hope to be a businessman.” For now though, he explains, “I’m still working toward my dreams.”