24-Year-Old Kenyan Habiba Noor Honoured in USA After Struggle

  • Different cultures present at the World Refugee Day in Syracuse, USA.
    Different cultures present at the World Refugee Day in Syracuse, USA.
    Syracuse.com
  • 24-year-old Kenyan Habiba Noor was among a group of refugees honoured during a special ceremony in Syracuse City, USA.

    Noor was awarded the Young Leader Recognition during an event titled World Refugee Day attended by the city's mayor Ben Walsh on Saturday, July 9.

    The award was presented to young individuals by the New Americans Forum.

    In her acceptance speech, Noor noted that she was inspired to give back to the community because when she arrived in the USA, she also learned the ropes through help from other people.

    Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh attends the World Refugee Day celebration
    Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh attends the World Refugee Day celebration.
    Syracuse.com

    “When I got here, people helped me. I didn’t know anything," she told Syracuse.com, a media outlet in the US city..

    When she arrived, she joined a driving school and quickly received her driving license. She also enrolled in school and passed her General Educational Development (GED) tests.

    Later, she graduated with a degree in social work from Onondaga Community College in 2020 before embarking on social work to help other refugees arriving in the United States.

    “It wasn’t easy for me, so I make it easy for them,” she explained.

    She is now attached to the North Side Learning Center where she helps newcomers to navigate their first months after arriving in the US.

    For the award, Noor was honoured alongside other refugees including Masturah (who has a Rwandan mother and Ugandan father) as well as Justin Kamanzi, a Rwandan national.

    July 9th was proclaimed as a refugee day by Walsh alongside representatives from Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon’s office to recognise contributions from the refugee community.

    One of the presenters at the event, Hassina Adams, a refugee herself and sister to Masturah, noted that the event is an opportunity to foster empathy and compassion.

    “It honors the tenacity, bravery, and heroism and those who have been forced to depart their native country due to conflict or persecution.

    "It is an opportunity to foster empathy and compassion for the plight of refugees as well as honor the perseverance in reconstructing their lives," stated Adams.

    An aerial view of Syracuse City in USA.
    An aerial view of Syracuse City in USA.
    File