She Overcame Seven Years Living in a Refugee Camp to Become First Person in Her Family to Get a College Degree


Hamdia Ahmed recently graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in political science. For Hamdia, it was an achievement no other family member had ever experienced or dared to dream for she spent her first seven years at the Ifo Refugee Camp in Dadaab, Kenya.

Hamdia’s family arrived at the refugee camp to escape from the Somali civil war that erupted in 1991. In Kenya, her family was looking for a rebuild of life. She would attend school and help her mother with chores in the evening. Despite being in a  refugee camp,  Hamdia had big dreams, but was never sure how they would come true. In any case, she did not know anywhere outside a refugee camp besides another town in Kenya. Her assumption then was the more refugee camps existed around the world and it was a normal place for people to live.

In 2005, her family managed to relocate to America. Now Hamdia is a political science graduate; call it breaking the hardest, highest glass ceiling. In a series of tweets, Hamdia narrates her journey.