Masiti Mohamed, Burlington College
Born in Somalia and raised in a refugee camp in Kenya, Masiti Mohamed came to Burlington, Vermont, when she was nineteen. She remains true to her community and culture and is actively involved with the greater Burlington-Winooski community. She educates, builds bridges, and models constructive possibilities in an ongoing effort to support refugees’ integration. As a Human Services major with a minor in International Relations, her studies and her community leadership have nurtured each other. In a 2013 internship in the college’s Legal Clinic, she supported refugee clients and educated the lawyers about their needs. Because of her articulate leadership there, she was invited to become a client trustee on the boards of Law Line of Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid to help those organizations serve refugees better. In a current independent study, Exploration of Legal Assistance, she is identifying the legal needs of low income people and has helped facilitate a meeting between Somali-Bantu women and a local prosecutor. She is completing her senior thesis on the needs of refugee women. Her informational interviews turned into action, however, and she has formed an ongoing support group. She has become a significant leader in the Somali-Bantu refugee community.
-Carol Moore, President
Ever since I was old enough to reason, I have had a vision to make change either for myself, someone else, or the world. I started to make some difference when I was fourteen years old after receiving some basic education, but that was not enough to change my life let alone a community or a country. First I had to change my surroundings, for I lived in a refugee camp at the time. Thanks to this land of opportunity, the community I joined, and the school I attended, I have begun to become who I wanted to become, and lead in a way that encourages others and makes a difference. I have gotten involved with many service providers in my new community. My aims are to show others how anyone can make a difference and to encourage the growing young generation, especially young women, to contribute to the community. I now am confident enough to provide the help and service I have dreamed about. We don’t need champions. What we need are united communities eager to make change. If there is compassion and willingness to make a difference, anything is possible.