Meet the Somalis: Shamso's Story

Meet Shamso… Shamso lives in Leicester. She is one of many Somali migrants living in Europe.

After Shamso’s marriage ended in 2006 she decided to leave Somalia. She remarried but her husband often drank and became angry, so she divorced again. Now Shamso has 5 children to support!

Shamso opened a café with her friend. She works full time, prays, looks after the children and still makes time to volunteer at the local old people’s home! Shamso hopes to save enough to leave their two bedroom house. But she is very content with her wonderful children and full, busy life.

This story was produced in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations (OSF) as part of a series of fourteen comics, based on personal testimonies, to highlight integration issues of Somali communities across seven European cities - London, Leicester, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Malmo, Oslo and Helsinki.

The focus of the project was to accompany the OSF policy research on the same subjects and locations, to engage a wide, general audience and to challenge negative media stereotyping of Somali communities.

Discussion Points

  1. What are your initial thoughts and feelings after reading Shamso’s story?

  2. How are you similar and different to Shamso?

  3. Why did Shamso have to leave Somalia?

  4. How do you think life in Leicester is similar and different to life in Somalia?

  5. Does Shamso’s story change the way you think about refugees (someone fleeing conflict, persecution, or natural disasters) and asylum seekers (someone seeking asylum in another country as a political refugee)?

  6. What would you do if you were in Shamso’s position?

  7. How do you think Shamso is feeling now?

  8. How can we help to integrate refugees and asylum seekers into our communities?

  9. How was experiencing Shamso’s Story in comic form different from simply reading it in a textbook or newspaper article?


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