When Nur Abdi first arrived at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, little did he know that within a few months he'd be working alongside other airport employees. Nur's journey to employment with the airport began in 2008, when he and his sister fled violence and instability in their home country of Somalia. They traveled to India where they lived as refugees in camps that lacked adequate governmental support. To support himself and his sister, Nur accepted a position with an international organization's income generation program. The program trains refugees to produce materials like plates, teacups, and paper that could then be sold for an income. Nur assumed a leadership role in the organization, handling quality control and program monitoring. Life in India was difficult, however, and Nur dreamed of the day when he could leave for the United States.
On March 14, 2013, Nur's plane finally landed in Atlanta, Georgia. He remembers that day clearly. "I met my caseworker in the airport," he recalls, "shaking hands and saying welcome to the United States of America. It was a dream which became a reality, a dream which [started with] a land of opportunity."
After a mere three days in the U.S., Nur began volunteering with LSG, using his language skills to interpret for other refugees and LSG staff during cultural orientation classes and the Match Grant program. He also helped translate test papers. Within two months, Nur accepted a job at the airport, where he works hard to support himself. He is proud of securing stable employment in such a short time. He reflects, "Finding a job in the United States of America is not easy. It needs a lot of effort, time, and hard work. For me, getting a job in the airport is an achievement."
Although Nur is excited about his new life in the U.S., he misses his family often. His parents, six sisters, and brother remain on the other side of the ocean, making communication difficult. Nevertheless, he has hope for a bright future. Nur views coming to America as "a step forward" in his life, and looks forward to acquiring skills and experience at the airport. He is grateful for all of the help he has received from LSG staff and volunteers. "They are amazing people," he says. "They always encouraged me and said, 'Here in America, everybody can make a difference and you can make it. It doesn't matter where you are from or who you are or what your last name is.'
Nur Abdi recently shared his story at LSG's 6th Annual Heroes of Hope, Healing, and Strength Gala. Click here to read more about Heroes of Hope.