After spending years in a refugee camp, Abdullahi Olow has learned not to take life in the U.S. for granted. He tries to remind his fellow Americans to do the same.
Mr. Olow was born in the city of Kismayu, Somalia. He grew up in a close-knit community with his parents and six siblings. When the Somali Civil War escalated in 1992, Abdullahi and his family fled to a refugee camp in Kenya when he was 10 years old.
After nearly 20 years in the refugee camp, Mr. Olow applied for asylum to the U.S. He spent two years enduring an arduous screening process that included multiple interviews, background checks, and medical examinations. Abdullahi was the first member of his family to be selected for resettlement, and he was assigned relocation to Houston, Texas. He later moved to Minnesota where an uncle of his was living.
Currently, Mr. Olow works as an outreach worker for the Heartland Community Action Agency. He assists his clients with everything from housing to health care. In addition, Abdullahi is very active in his community. He is a board member for Willmar Area Multicultural Business Center as well as Family Promise of Kandiyohi County, and he is a member of Vision 2040. He lives in Willmar, Minnesota with his wife and children.