It is called „Little Mogadishu” – as you walk towards the Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, south of the University of Minnesota campus, you can’t fail to notice the huge high-rise buildings divided into many tiny and colorful squares that give the impression of some leftovers of a cheap housing project in the seventies rather than an attractive homelike housing area to settle. Getting closer you can watch a few men, women, some of them veiled, and children entering and leaving the building.

Most of the people who made themselves a home there are members of the Somali community. Together with the Hmong community, it is the biggest refugee group in Minneapolis and the whole country.

In 1991, when the somalian civil war broke out, many Somalis had to escape from fightings and prosecution and fled to the neighboring countries in order to survive. Since then, the war in Somalia is on and off. After they permantly lived in refugee camps in Ethopia or Kenya for years, many refugees got the chance to resettle in the United States for safety, economic and educational opportunities. The 2000 Census counted 36 000 Somalis in the U.S., 11 000 in Minnesota. In 2004, the number already more than doubled. 25 000 Somalis lived in Minnesota. The numbers increased over time and do not only refer to refugees anymore. Little Mogadishu, as well as the other somali settlements, consists of primary and secondary migrants, of non-refugee Somalis from Somalia, but also from neighboring countries like Djibouti, Northern Kenya and Ethopia (where the ethnic group of Somalis is also rooted), mostly to better their economic status. Many of those migrants are also illegal.

Those who suffered directly from the civil war and were resettled as refugees often experienced traumatic events before, during and after their escape. A huge number was even tortured.Those people need a special treatment in order to deal with their syndroms.


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