Growing up, Najat Hamza was a precocious child, and one of twelve siblings in a large and close-knit family. She grew up in Oromia, a regional state located in Ethiopia, but due to a violent conflict in the region, she was forced to flee with her father and two older siblings when she was a young teenager.
Leaving the rest of her family behind, they initially went to Kenya before resettling in Minnesota, where she still lives today.
Photo: Natjat Hamza in Stillwater, Minnesota in 2020.
In 2017, she came to StoryCorps to reflect on her refugee experience and the unshakable longing for the home she left behind.
Top Photo: Najat Hamza in Maplewood, Minnesota in 2017. Courtesy of Najat Hamza.
This interview is part of the Anwar Collection of Muslim Voices and Tapestry of Voices Collection through StoryCorps’ American Pathways initiative. This initiative is made possible by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and an Anonymous Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Stuart Family Foundation. It will be archived at the Library of Congress.
Originally aired April 16th, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.