Fatuma Elmi

State: Minnesota

City of Residence: Columbia Heights, Minnesota

Country of origin: Somalia

Arrival in the U.S.: 1991

Ms. Fatuma Elmi fled the civil war in Somalia and came to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1991, where she was granted Temporary Protection Status. Immediately after arriving, Ms. Elmi began volunteering with Lutheran Social Services to help new refugees adjust to life in the United States. She was eventually hired and has been working there for the past 19 years. Ms. Elmi is most proud of contributing to her community by assisting more than 25 families in their move from temporary shelter to permanent housing, and helping them find good jobs with benefits so that they can become self-sufficient.

Quote: Where a refugee person can become a lawmaker – it can happen only in the US.