United ReSisters: Somali-American students aim to connect communities with book


A group of Somali-American students from the Green Bay area have decided to share their experiences on paper.

“We named the book The First Winter because we were all new here and we have experienced new things,” Najma Hussein said. “The book’s based on questions people were asking us.”

The authors are all a part of United ReSisters.

They started writing the book as a way to express their thoughts and experiences, but they never believed it would actually be published.

“I didn’t believe it,” Nadifo Kasim said. “I was like, I’m not going to believe. Just when I hope it in my hand, that’s when I’ll believe it.”

That dream was realized thanks to a grant through The Women’s Fund.

“It was just amazing,” Nadifo said. “My mom was like, so happy. She was like, ‘It turned out great, the cover and everything.'”

Nada Kasim was also in disbelief when she saw the final product for the first time.

“I was so excited that I slept with my book the first night,” she said. “I was that excited.”

The women worked together to create a book that tells their collective stories.

“We talk about our experiences of how, when we first came in the U.S, and our feelings, the struggles we went through,” Nada described, “how it was like to go to school here in the United States first time and how it was back in the refugee camp, how our life was.”

“We want to explain to people, like, who we are, where we’re from, and what we do and all about our lives,” Bisharo Abdullahi added.

The book also looks to answer questions others have about them.

“This book’s based on the questions people were asking us,” Najma said.

Questions they say some may be scared to ask.

“It is kind of hard to go up to someone and ask them questions,” Nada said, “because they’re afraid if it’s like too personal. So instead of [coming] up to us, or if you’re afraid to come and ask us, you can just read the book.”

They hope that answer those questions could help start a conversation that will continue, along with their writing.

“We’ll still keep writing our stories,” Najma said. “It’s a continuous thing.”

To purchase a copy of The First Winter, click here.

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