“Fowsia has spent her entire life on efforts to better her community. Since arriving in Lewiston, Fowsia has become a trusted, energetic and engaged member of the Lewiston and Auburn communities. Her ties, both personal and professional, span a great number of individuals, organizations and professions.
Fowsia spent her early years in the U.S. working in Lewiston with the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine (formerly United Somali Women of Maine) to empower immigrant women and children, and advocating for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, family crisis and generational trauma. She was trained to work with students identified as having special needs by the Auburn School Department as part of the Project SHIFA (Supporting the Health of Immigrant Families and Adolescents) program, which was developed to provide culturally appropriate mental health care for Somali youth and their families. She has worked as a cultural broker at several local organizations, including Central Maine Medical Center’s Family Practice Residency Program, and has served as a licensed interpreter for the Lewiston District Court, and in the home visitor program at Advocates for Children, offering educational materials for healthy pregnancy and healthy home environments to expecting mothers and families with newborn infants.
She currently serves on the Immigrant and Refugee Integration and Policy Development Working Group that was established by the Lewiston City Council to: identify and inventory immigrant and refugee services available in the community, including referral and support mechanisms for new arrivals; identify the needs of the current immigrant and refugee community that are not being met by service providers or advocacy or community groups; identify possible funding streams from Federal and State agencies that can address on-going and unmet immigrant and refugee needs; identify and utilize city, school, and community resources, including those of the business community, to encourage employment and entrepreneurship within the immigrant and refugee community; and to make recommendations to the Lewiston City Council and to assist with policy development in relation to the tasks identified above. Considering the current political climate in the U.S. and locally in Lewiston, these are not easy tasks. Fowsia is an active and willing participant in group discussions, and provides insight that is both thoughtful and honest. It is clear that she is seen as a leader in her community and a role model among young Somali women, who hang on her every word, and look to her for answers when difficult questions arise. Her sense of humor is second to none, especially when she doesn’t realize she is being funny, and is simply “telling it like it is.”
Fowsia is as selfless as she is busy. She never seeks acknowledgement for her actions and she provides endless support and continuous affirmation to the work of others, including myself.”