Meet our Students: Khadija

Khadija is a single mother currently preparing to enter Community College – she wrote her story to share with you.

SEA Student currently working on the COMPASS testAttending college is very important to me because I’m from Somalia. In Somalia, boys are educated until eighth grade — enough to know basic math, reading, and writing. However, girls are not allowed to attended school. Women are seen as simply made for cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children. Even though I moved to America as a small, child, my family brought these beliefs with them and did not encourage me to go to college.

When my family came to the United States in 1997, I was seven years old. I was excited because for the first time I would get the chance to attend school and make friends. Then, when I was in sixth grade, a terrible thing happened to me. My family arranged for me to be married to a man I looked up to as an uncle. I believe he was in his 30’s. I refused; there was no way I would get married to someone related to me. I was disgusted. After that, everything changed. I didn’t end up getting married and they couldn’t force me. However, my family told me I would have to find somewhere else to live because I had shamed them.

I moved into a homeless youth shelter called The Center for Youth in Rochester, New York. It was a nice place to be, but I lost sight of myself there. I began drinking with the older kids. I began to hate my life. I was so lonely and alone that I attempted suicide three times. I was sent to a hospital for evaluation, and after that sent back to live with my family. The situation at home was unhappy and my grades in school dropped from an all A student to a C and D student. I ran away a few times. Years passed by and I began living with my cousin; because I had a more supportive home life I did much better in school during my senior year. By then it was too late to get into to a university, but I did graduate from high school on time in 2008. I spent two years in New York City, not knowing where life would take me. Then I moved to Seattle and had a baby.

Now that I’m 21 years old I’m ready to attend school. I want to go to college because I want my son to have a bright future and I also want to have a better future for myself.  SEA has helped me in so many ways. I’m now prepared to take my COMPASS test (the placement test at the community college) because SEA provided me with a great tutor. They also taught me how to apply for financial aid.  I am grateful for their help.

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2 Responses to Meet our Students: Khadija

  1. Michal Keidar says:

    I was very moved to read your life story. You are so brave and determine and you are a positive model for your son. I wish you good luck in fulfilling your dreams of education and also success in all the fields of your life. You are an inspiration to other youth and young adults who experience challenges and obstacles.

  2. sarah says:

    Keep going! Use all the resources that are available to you! And be proud of yourself for making it through such painful obstacles…there is nothing so lonely as the feeling of losing the love of your family, but you are stronger now…and a role model to so many young people who face similar struggles!! Thank you for sharing your story…and bless you and your little boy…the future surely holds wonderful things for the both of you…

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