Refugees

Habiba Ali Nur presents at the Logan Library on Wednesday evening as part of the Friends of the Logan Library speaker series.

“If my country would be safe, I would not be here right now,” Habiba Ali Nur said to a group of people at the Logan Library.

In 1993, Nur was supposed to return to Somalia after attending school at Utah State University. But due to the war there, she didn’t have a home to go back to.

On Wednesday evening, Nur presented on the challenges refugees face, specifically in Utah, as part of the Friends of the Logan Library speaker series.

“You are good people,” Nur said. “Utahns are very kind, friendly people. But unless we go teach them (refugees) about the resources we have, they don’t know anything.”

There are many resources refugees need when they arrive in a new place Nur said, including access to English lessons so they can become citizens and transportation so they can work.

According to Nur, support for children is especially important because it allows parents to focus on work and other skill training as well as help kids do better in school, which she said is an important part of their future success.

“Utah, when it comes to education, we have a lot of work to do,” Nur said.

One way Nur said Utah can improve the educational resources it offers is by providing and improving after school programs for refugee children and offering year-round activities, such as sports and clubs.

Carol White attended Wednesday’s meeting and is part of a team of seventh- and eighth-grade English teachers at Spring Creek Middle School who will be reading novels about refugees with their students this year.

“We want our students to know about what is happening locally, because we have refugees here in Cache Valley and in Utah and we want kids to know that they are part of a larger place than just their schools and just their little towns,” White said.

White plans on using the statistics Nur shared about refuges in Utah with her students. She also wants them to understand the odds many refugees overcome.

“You can do anything if you decide to,” White said. “(I will be sharing) some of the specific examples that she gave of refugees that have everything against them but they are able to make it.”