Health Advocates Info
Somalis in Minnesota

Response to Walters Questions
Author Siyad Abdullahi MD MPH
Date 01/08/13/16:15
Hit Count 419

How does the Somali Community address the single
mothers, of any age, but especially teens?

Pregrancy or Child birth outside marriage or
wedlock was very rare and stigmatized in Somalia.
I believe it is still the same here except that
it is not openly discussed. Also, i believe most
of the sinlge mothers you see are only "single"
as in papers. Meaning that most are married but
not known as such to County officials for obviuos
reasons. In Somalia, Marriage for both males and
females occured early in life 18-25. Teen preg per see
was rare. However, we might be seeing some increase in
their incidence as a result of environmental and
cultural changes here in the US.

What about the fathers of the children that the
single moms are parenting: how does the Somali
Community handle them, or is there a response to

In Somalia, if the pregrant lady identified the
FOB. It was common for the families to organize
an arranged marriage btwn the two.
This mostly worked fine in Somalia!. Obviously
things are different here. Somali institutions of problem solving
are not really in place here?
or are they? I really don't know.

What social issues exit? : ie: housing, need for
English classes, etc.

I think this was well covered in the serving
somali clients session. housing is probably the
most challenging social service needs for this

With Somali language being mostly an oral
tradition, what suggestions for all the letters
we need to send?

I believe letters are useful. The question is does
make a difference wether you send them in Somali
or english?. I would say both if possible. If your
Somali client size is > 25% i think it is valuable
to send in Somali [may be not so much for communicatoin,
but may increase satisfaction or even chances of call
if you needed one..[Ownership reasins may be?].
For instance i like it when i recieve community
events in my neighborhood in Somali:)
It helps alot to have a somali staff in your organization or
office. I think offices or depts with a high somali
clientale should really have a somali staff person.
esp professional staff who can do more than just

Any pertinent information about traditional
family structure, customs, holidays (ie with
certain requirements like times of fasting,
certain forbidden things, like pork, etc...)

Extended and large family sizes, high family
values, parents revered!, modesty expected of both
sexes, holidays: two main ones; Eid ul fitr, at the
end of ramadhan and Eid ul Adhaa, coincides with
pilgrimage to mecca. These holidays are also celebrated
by all muslims also. Fasting: compulsory during
the month of ramadhan except for certain pple such
as the sick. Please refer to your reading list and web
references given in your first session for religio-cultural
questions. Unlawful foods and substacnes; Pork and Alcohol and their
derivatives or by-products....even for medicinal purposes.
All recreational drugs and any substance that is harmful
to ones health.

Thank you,


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