Proud to be Part of the People
With his pen poised to fill in his choice for Minnesota governor, Ahmed entered a voting booth for the first time. When he exited into the autumn air, he proudly pressed a round, red sticker onto his shirt.
“It said, ‘I vote’ and I wore it,” Ahmed said with a smile. “I voted for the first time and it was amazing. I was proud to be part of the people.”
Minnesota became home for Ahmed once he left Somalia in 2014. After a few years of working, dreaming of furthering his education and meeting a woman named Fatouma, a friend told him about the International Institute of Minnesota. He completed his citizenship application with the Institute’s help and eagerly went home to share the news with Fatouma, who had become his wife.
“I told her, ‘I found a place that really cares about people. Not only just cares, but they’re seeing the future of this generation. That people come here and are changing their life to wonderful and new ways, to find jobs and opportunities and educations,” Ahmed said.
Fatouma, a teacher originally from Djibouti, helped him study. After many months of quizzing him, Ahmed passed the citizenship test and interview. He naturalized during an emotional ceremony in the summer of 2021.
“It was wonderful. It was like a dream come true,” Ahmed said. “I always had dreamed to choose who I want to vote for, who is speaking for the people and to have more opportunities. That was my dream.”
As he worked to realize that goal, Ahmed simultaneously worked to improve his career. He enrolled in the Institute’s Dietary Aide training while working full-time as a security officer and being a new dad. He enjoyed learning so much that he enrolled next in the Institute’s Nursing Assistant Training.
Ahmed, who speaks three languages, now works as a certified nursing assistant with memory care patients — a perfect fit for his calm demeanor and warm smile.
“I always love to take care of people. I learn a lot about life. My dream is becoming a nurse also,” he said.
“Always, me and my wife talk about progressing our future educations. Hopefully, I definitely go back to school and see more opportunities.”