Minnesota author channels Rosie the Riveter to inspire kids with Somali refugee story Share Tweet Email Share Sunday February 10, 2019 By Kelly Smith Her book, “It Only Takes One Yes,” pushes children to make a difference in the world no matter their age. Story time felt a bit like a motivational speech for Habso Mohamud as she opened her book and read aloud to dozens of antsy toddlers and children. “It only takes one …” the 24-year-old said, motioning to the kids to finish her sentence. “Yes!” the kids yelled back in unison. “If you want to be the best teacher, be the best author, be the best president, you can start today,” she said at the recent event at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. Ads By Google The gathering was the latest local reading for Mohamud, a first-time author from St. Cloud. Her book, “It Only Takes One Yes,” which she self-published in September, pushes children to make a difference in the world no matter their age. Donning a red checkered headscarf like her book’s protagonist — a nod to Rosie the Riveter — Mohamud interjected the reading with her own life story, describing how her family escaped war in Somalia before she was born in a refugee camp in Kenya. Moriah Brooks, 7, filled out a paper with her goals of feeding the homeless people by her school. RENÉE JONES SCHNEIDER “I went through so much as a kid,” she said. “Don’t ever underestimate what you can do.” She’s read to kids in St. Cloud, St. Paul and even Washington D.C. in January for a UNESCO and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) event. “The book crosses cultures,” said Tarryl Clark, a former state senator and now Stearns County commissioner who met Mohamud at community events. “She makes a difference in our region.” Mohamud moved to the United States with her family when she was 10, first to Fargo, then to St. Cloud. One of 13 children, she was the first to graduate from college, earning a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University in travel and tourism and a master’s degree in global education, gender and leadership development. Getting involved with UNESCO Center for Peace, a Maryland-based nonprofit that has educational events and cultural exchanges, inspired her to be a “change maker.” Habso Mohamud was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, and was later bullied in school. “I went through so much as a kid,” she said. RENÉE JONES SCHNEIDER Guy Djoken, the center’s CEO, said Mohamud is young, passionate and ambitious about improving the lives of the next generation. “That’s what we need,” he said. “There’s no doubt that she’s going places.” In her book, available on her website,, the protagonist Nasra, named after her mother, represents Mohamud and her childhood. The character, dressed like Rosie the Riveter with a red head scarf as she flexes her biceps, wants to be queen of the jungle. Her mother tells her she is already queen and “here and now is when to start.” Mohamud held up the book for the crowd of children. “What do you all see?” she asked. “A girl that looks like you,” a girl called out. Toniya Farmer, 6, told Habso Mohamud her goal in life. RENÉE JONES SCHNEIDER Mohamud smiled. “She is me, her story is parallel to my story,” she told them. “She wants to make the world a better place. Even though she is small, she’s still going to make the change.” Mohamud found solace in reading books after she said she was bullied in school for being hospitalized for mental health problems. Now she works as a mental health practitioner and uses her book to reiterate messages about being kind to others and finding a way to make a difference no matter how little or poor you are. At the end of the book she also illustrates the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which aim for global milestones like no poverty and zero hunger. “It’s very encouraging to younger people to make a difference,” said Zaynab Islam, 10, of Eagan, who lined up to get an autographed book from Mohamud. Two 6-year-old girls watched as Mohamud signed their copy, scrolling with black marker inside the cover: “You are strong, you are smart, you are beautiful.” Then to a little boy, she wrote: “Keep dreaming and you can make those goals.” Mohamud has big goals of her own, aspiring to start a publishing company and a mobile library in St. Cloud. “If I can do it, you can do it, too,” she told the children at the end of her reading. “Because it only takes one …” “Yes!” the kids yelled back. advertisements Kagame steps down, Egypt’s Sisi takes helm at African Union – AFP Service and sacrifice of African peacekeepers ‘at the forefront of our minds’: UN chief – UN News Centre President Farmajo Calls on AU Leaders to Adopt Progressive Refugee Laws and Policies – Villa Somalia Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan hold tripartite meetings in Addis – Ahram Online Turkey building collapse death toll rises to 21 – AFP Isis leader believed to have fled coup attempt by his own fighters – The Guardian President Farmajo meets with the UN Secretary General – UN 3 dead as Ethiopian helicopter crashes at UN compound – AP Canada to shelter victims of slavery in Libya – MEMO Mustefa Mohammed dismiss accusations of tendency to secede from Ethiopia – Borkena China’s treatment of Uighurs is ‘embarrassment for humanity’, says Turkey – AFP New Muslim lawmakers’ criticism of Israel pressures US Democrats – AFP Click here 96-Year-Old Puts Her House For Sale. 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Monday February 11, 2019

President Bouteflika will run for a fifth term amid concern about a political transition following the 81-year-old’s rule. For some he is respected for ending the country’s civil war. For others he is an autocrat.

Algeria’s ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced on Sunday he will seek a fifth term in April 18 elections, amid concern over the 81-year-old’s health.

Bouteflika has used a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in 2013 that left him with difficulty speaking and moving. He is rarely seen in public.

“Of course, I am no longer the same physical force as before — something that I have never hidden from the people,” the state news agency APS reported him as saying.

“But the unwavering desire to serve… has never left me and it allows me to transcend the constraints linked to health troubles which everyone may one day face,” the president added.


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The announcement came after the ruling National Liberation Front on Saturday declared Bouteflika to be their presidential candidate for another five-year term.


Trouble looming on horizon

Bouteflika is respected in Algeria for ending the North African country’s decade-long civil war between Islamic insurgents and the military which killed nearly 200,000 people.

He was the only North African leader to survive the Arab Spring upheaval without facing protests, in part due to citizens’ concerns over renewed instability.

He subdued potential unrest through promises of reform and wage increases financed by the country’s oil and gas revenues.

But in recent years the country’s finances have been weakened by low oil prices, forcing cuts in state subsidies.

Algeria’s Western allies are concerned about an unstable transfer of power in a country on Europe’s doorstep. The country faces al-Qaida linked militants in the Sahel, turbulence in neighboring Libya and is a potential gateway for migrants seeking to reach Europe.

The opposition has questioned the president’s health and ability to hold office. Rights groups and the opposition also accuse him of being authoritarian.

The Front of Socialist Forces, the country’s oldest opposition party, called last month for an “active, intensive and peaceful boycott” of the vote and declared it would not field a candidate.

Vague reform promises

Bouteflika promised that if re-elected, he would implement political, economic and social reforms through consensus.

“If you give me the honor of your precious trust next April, I will invite within this year all forces of the people to hold a national symposium, which will focus on reaching consensus on reforms,” he said.

APS news agency also said Bouteflika wanted to amend the constitution if re-elected. It did not specify what changes these would be.

Bouteflika’s top challengers are former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, retired General Ali Ghediri and the leader of a moderate Islamist party, Abderazak Makri.

Bouteflika won the 2014 election with 81 percent of the vote despite not campaigning and voting from a wheelchair.



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