Minnesota became a safe home for a large number of East African immigrants beginning in the early 1990s and a strong Somali community formed. The Somali community became entwined in the culture of Minnesota, and new schools and businesses and partnerships formed.
Initially many Somali individuals entered unskilled jobs, but as they lived longer in the state, with experience and education, people entered more industrial and professional occupations. Education has been key. Somali Americans have started successful small businesses in Minnesota, and have become well-known politicians like Ilhan Omar and Mahamud Noor.
MTCS was one of the earliest schools to uniquely support students from East Africa, and created Banaadir Academy as a school where children could get the resources and supports they need to not only go to school, but to learn a new language, navigate a whole new culture, transportation and so many things. Banaadir employs cultural liaisons to help families understand what their students are learning and experiencing and how to support them so children are more successful in school.
Banaadir has three campuses this year, and next year will streamline into two campuses: Banaadir Elementary K-4 grade program in Northeast Minneapolis, and Banaadir Academy 5-12 in North Minneapolis. We are meeting the needs of families and the community.
A story on Fox 9 aired recently during this pandemic, that highlighted a Somali University student and her mother making masks for people in Minnesota. It really shows that we are all one, generous and strong community.