Nimo Jama

Nimo Jama, born in Somaliland in 1995, came to East London with her brother at the age of 14 to join her mother

Nimo was born in Burao, Somaliland. Her father worked in various countries and so her parents travelled for work to Dubai, Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia and Uganda. Nimo and her younger brother and sister lived with their grandmother aunt, uncle and cousins in Burao. Nimo attended a madrasa from the age of 3 where she learnt Arabic and the Quran. She went to school from the age of 7 where science was her faviourte subject. At the age of 7 Nimo’s mother left to work in England.

When Nimo was 11 she spent two years with her father, along with a cousin, in the capital, Hargeisa. Nimo’s mother then took the children to Ethiopia to start proceedings to bring her children to London. Nimo came to London at the age of 14 with her younger brother and sister. She did not want to leave her extended family and friends but her mother persuaded her that London would open up education and other opportunities for her.

Nimo was disappointed with the accommodation in London and pupils at George green School, mainly Bengali, bullied her for not speaking English. Her Somali male cousin stepped in and life got better. She went onto Tower Hamlets College to do ESOL and BTEC in Business. She progressed onto Newham College to do an Access to Higher Education Course and is now doing a Degree in Accountancy at the University of Westminster.

Since Nimo was small she has always been a tomboy. She loves basketball and football and was even invited by the boys at George Green School to join their team, something unusual for Somali girls to do. Nimo is a keen supporter of Manchester United and has visited Old Trafford. She followed the fortunes of the football team from her home country in the Africa National Cup. She watches both British and Somali television and has friends from different cultural backgrounds. She attends community festivals such as 18 May which is the day to celebrate the independence of Somaliland. People gather, dress in the Somaliland flag and enjoy Somali music and comedy.

Nimo is also interested in politics and has campaigned for the Labour Party in Tower Hamlets ever since she was 15. She has ambitions to be a politician in the UK but also to set up a business in Somaliland. Her father now works for Dahabshiil, a money transfer service and her mother works as a chef and care assistant in London. They are divorced but very good friends.

Nimo speaks by phone regularly with both her grandmother and father. She has not gone back to Somaliland since she came here in 2010 but plans to go back in 2016 for 7 weeks in the summer.

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