International Rochester: Somalian Community - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

International Rochester: Somalian Community

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- It could very well be the fastest growing community in Rochester.  We're talking about the Somali community.  And it's estimated that Rochester is home to nearly 4,000 Somali residents.

"We are now part of the fabric of the Rochester Community," said Mayo Clinic Employee Mohamed Hamud.  Hamud moved to Minnesota with his family and now works at Mayo Clinic.  "And the reason we chose here is because it is a good community to live despite of all the struggles that we have," he said.

Struggles, different from struggles back in a civil war-stricken country.  A civil war which has gone on for more than twenty years over politics and the country's resources.  "Somalia went through a lot when it comes to the civil war," said Rochester resident Ayan Abdinour.  "And now, I think it's other people who are trying to gain something out of Somalia being the way it is."

Abdinur works for the African Development Center, an organization that helps former African citizens become self-sufficient in growing their business is Minnesota.  "The beginning of 1996, that's when we got here. It grew so much. We were a few families and we know each other right now. I went to school in Mankato for four years, and when I came back, I thought I came back to a whole new city," said Abdinur.

Mohamed Nur has noticed changes in Rochester as well.  "It's expanding. Job-wise. Education-wise. It's expanding," he said.  Nur, works in the real estate business.

"It used to be like five years ago when IBM used to have a lot of contractors. So most of the workforce shifted to other areas," he said.

With the Somali community growing larger, the demand for interpreters at hospitals, courts, or anything is on the rise.  "Somali is about 26-percent of all of our requests," said Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association Associate Director Armin Budimlic. "Cambodian is about 24.4-percent and Spanish is about 23.3 percent."

But it's not just Rochester, Minnesota's Somali population is still the largest in the United States with more than 32,000 residents.

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