New Neighbors from Somalia

New Neighbors from Somalia

July 08, 2007
Written by Phyllis Richards

Three years ago Allie Jensen decided to become an English tutor. In July 2005, she was paired with Sadiyo Abdi Jama, a 30 year old Somali woman.  Allie and Sadiyo met weekly. Sadiyo, a single mother of three, works nightly cleaning classrooms at Ohio State University. One day Sadiyo told Allie that 13 members of her family, all refugees, would be arriving in two days. They were being resettled by Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS) in Columbus. Sadiyo asked if Allie could help.

The refugees arrived on February 9, 2006.  Much of their support was Sadiyo's responsibility. "All of this is on her shoulders," remarked Allie, "she works so hard."  Sadiyo struggled to keep her job, buy groceries, cook for the family and take them to doctor appointments. 

When an apartment was found, Allie helped the family with the necessary paperwork making it easier for them to understand. But she didn't stop there. Allie rounded up support from members of the Dublin Community Church, UCC, in Dublin, Ohio where she serves as Director of Music and Organist.   

In March, the refugee family joyfully moved into their own apartment furnished by the Dublin Community Church. This was very appreciated by the Somalis, who are devout Muslims.

One Great Hour of Sharing supports UCC Refugee Ministries, Church World Service and CRIS in Columbus where 1,454 refugees resettled in 2006.

Transformed by the experience, Allie Jensen enrolled in a Master in Social Work program at Ohio State University.

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Contact Info

Mary K. Gross
Executive for Refugee Ministries
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115