Hamdi Abdulle (photographed here in Mogadishu, Somalia) is the Executive Director for Somali Youth and Family SeaTac, and Skyway, and South Seattle WA. She is a happily married mother of five and is also the fifth child among fifteen (10 girls and 5 boys) siblings from one mother.
It is a Somali tradition for a husband to marry multiple wives if his first wife gives birth to more daughters than sons. Despite the culture, her father refused to participate in the tradition.
Generally, sons are praised more than daughters, however, Hamdi’s parents adored their daughters enough to praise them as good fortune and sent them all to school, which was very unusual at that time. Furthermore, her parents rejected the common belief in the obligatory genital mutilation of young girls. Hamdi was born in Galkacyo and the semi-desert savanna regions of Somalia. Her early childhood was full of joy, running around the spacious grassland and climbing acacia trees and the red termite tall towers of the mid regions of Somalia. In elementary school, Hamdi was able to speak and enjoy poetry in Italian and Arabic.
Her experience in the area of teaching science in Somalia has helped her to work closely with the East African communities in the Seattle area. She advocates for social justice and equity, ending homelessness and the dis-proportionality in the child welfare system. Hamdi’s vision and expertise is in building a strong family foundation from the earliest years of a child’s life. She implemented the Shah-Shah early learning program, which is a great opportunity for young children and their mothers to bond by playing and learning together with attention and intention. The goal is to help increase the success rate for children in their education. Hamdi now institutes her leadership through advocacy for social and policy change for the refugee community in the State of Washington. She has also implemented the use of wrap-around case management and the use of the five protective factors for strengthening families in all of SYFC’s programs.
Hamdi spearheaded the use of the highly successful Community Café model in collaboration with play and learn Kaleidoscope program as a platform for parent engagement in the refugee community. As a result, through the use of the Community Cafe, the Somali community has found the strength to have a voice of their own and believe in their ability to overcome the issues that concern their families and children. Hamdi believes in the importance of the communication flow between SVP/The Learning Community and Communities of Opportunities. At the grassroots level, Hamdi calls for inclusive economic development focusing on equitable contracting for the refugee community. Hamdi is currently engaged in Promoting Healthy Homes and Family size units for all families with high decision-makers, she believes in Substandard housing should not be an alternative to end homelessness and highlights that Affordable does not mean Available for larger families in King County.
Hamdi serves on the Executive Committee of the Race to the Top project and is a member of the All Home Coordinating Board. Parallel to her work in Seattle, Hamdi’s deep culture and literature in her native language has strengthened her courage to advocate for women’s rights in Somalia. Her work included reciting a poem on Voice of America that depicted the horrific and unjust stoning of Asha Dhuhulow, a 13-year-old Somali girl who was raped by six men in Kismayo, Somalia. Hamdi’s educational background is a bachelor’s degree in Teaching from Lafole College of Education in Mogadishu, Somalia and a bachelor’s of Science from George Mason University in Virginia.