My name is Adan Kumane Mohamed. There are great meanings in my names. Adan means the father of human beings; Kumane means the nice one; and Mohamed means the messenger of Allah (God). I was born at Libio in Kenya, along the border of Somalia and Kenya. My family fled from Somalia, due to the civil war. I grew up in a place called Dagaheley refugee camp; the world’s largest camp. I personally had faced many obstacles, including education challenges, social injustice and financial crisis. I have solved my problems through dedication, respect, enthusiasm, passion and patience.

After all of my friends went to kindergarten, I asked for my parents to take me to school, but unfortunately no one listened to me. I started seeking my mother’s bag for money, and stole some, then went to the only store in the whole town. I bought three small books and a pencil. Early in the morning I woke up and asked my dad to take me to school. My dad got very upset. He knew that he had to pay the school, and we were already suffering from financial hardship. He finally agreed. It was one brilliant morning. The glare of the sun shined toward our eyes. This was my first day in school. I was six years old.

My family suffered social injustice. After my family had a particularly happy day, we all went to sleep. In the middle of the night I heard a loud sharp sound. I thought it was a nightmare, but when I woke up I saw a gun pointing toward my mouth. The gun-man said to me, “Where is your bastard father?” I was too frightened to say a word. He heard bullets outside and he ran away from me, with his colleagues. They had shot bullets at my father, then he escaped. They looted our properties, and the event caused my father to lose his mind.

The devastation lead my family to a financial crisis. I had started working when I was eight years old, as a restaurant waiter. This money helped my family’s needs and also helped to pay for my education. When I got home, i smelled like rotten potatoes, which I was slicing all night long.

I knew that the only way that I could get out of that horrible life is through education. Education is a life long journey, which had unlocked me from the locked doors. I am striving for a better life.

Adan Mohamed – 17 – Portland, Maine