New Citizens Join the Pool and Now Are Fellow Americans

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Saalim Saalim and his wife Fatma Abdalla and their 5 young children at the celebration event where they officially became Citizens of the United States of America.

Runta News- Portland- July 26, 2018

Two events organized by Neighborhood House have taken place this month in Portland, Oregon. Saalim Saalim fled civil war in Somalia and lived in a refugee camp for 22 years. There, he married Fatma Abdallah and raised a beautiful family, finally finding a home in Portland five years ago. Since then, the family has worked with Neighborhood House to move from struggle to self-sufficiency. Neighborhood House is a social services agency that brings neighbors together and strengthens community by providing resources to support self-reliance, economic independence, and dignity in people of all ages and backgrounds.  Today, Saalim works as Neighborhood House’s Food Box assistant, while Fatma is a teacher at the Stephen’s Creek Head Start–and on July 19, they both officially became US citizens, having participated in the Citizenship Oath Ceremony! Saalim and Fatma embody the best of America, with their warmth, generosity, activism, and work ethic. The USA is lucky to have them.

Meanwhile on Saturday, July 14th was the second annual Portland International Muslim Cultural Festival, “Silk Road Echoes,” held at Director Park in downtown Portland! Despite the heat, there was a great turnout to celebrate the diverse cultures and traditions of our Muslim neighbors. The festival included representatives of 42 different ethnic groups in Portland, and included cultural performances, food from around the globe, henna, Islamic calligraphy, and social service resources.

The Festival is a program of the Muslim Educational Trust (MET), a cultural, social, and educational institution that aims to enrich the public’s understanding of Islam and dispel common myths and stereotypes, while serving the Muslim community’s educational, social, and spiritual needs. Neighborhood House, Portland’s first organization established to help the city’s immigrant populations, had two booths, with Food Box Assistant Saalim Saalim selling popcorn and cotton candy, while Headstart Coordinator Yelena Avakyan recruited new volunteers and educated people about Neighborhood House’s work.

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