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Saido Mohammed: Refugee Woman of the Year

Saido Mohammed, a specialist nurse from Helsinki, has been awarded the title of Woman Refugee of the Year. Born in 1974 in the Somalia capital Mogadishu, Saido arrived in Finland in 1992.

Image: Eva-Liisa Orupöld

The Finnish Refugee Council said it awarded Saido Mohammed the prize in recognition of her achievement and skillful efforts between cultures to inspire and encourage young people who wish to preserve their diversified identity while genuinely wanting to be a part of Finnish society.

She received the title especially for her voluntary work with Finnish aid to refugees. The 36-year-old has worked with the Somali league and youth organisations. She serves as an expert on a project to prevent the circumcision of young girls.

“I want people to be aware of the large number of men and women from different origins who conduct vital work with youth at grassroots level from a variety of cultural backgrounds. There are many people in Finland whose voice is not yet heard,” Saido Mohammed said.

Civil War Forces Her from Somalia

Saido Mohammed was born in 1974 and was brought up in a middle class family in Mogadishu, Somalia.

The civil war changed her life. She was forced to flee the capital and, for a time, lived with relatives in the Somali countryside. Eventually she joined an aunt in Kenya at the age of 14.

Her journey to safety ended in Hämeenlinna in 1992. She graduated from the Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences in 2001 and has, since then, worked as a specialist nurse. A year later she started voluntary work on a project to prevent the circumcision of young girls.