pronouns: she, her, hers
Asma is an Assistant Teacher who works with learners and believes that she is not only teaching them, but also learning from their culture, stories, and experiences. As a deaf immigrant herself, Asma feels that she has a lot in common with ThinkSelf’s learners.
Growing up with the nomadic lifestyle in Somalia, Asma was not exposed to education or knowledge of the world around her other than taking care of her family’s livestock and pets until the 2000s when she relocated to Burao, one of the biggest cities in Somaliland. There, Asma was enrolled in an Islamic school that mainly taught about the Koran and the Arabic language. She was not allowed to enroll in regular school due to her age and financial barriers.
In 2008, Asma arrived in the United States as an immigrant at age 18, and that’s when her ASL and English learning journey began. After graduating high school a year later, Asma enrolled in a transitional program, which led to adult education to further her English and ASL knowledge.
In her free time, Asma enjoys spending time with her daughter, jogging, swimming, Netflix and chill, organizing, reading books, and connecting with people through social media.
Asma: “In 2004, my life took a drastic change; I lost my hearing, and got tinnitus and my ears started ringing. After losing my hearing, my family was convinced that I was possessed and subjected me to various exorcisms, including sending me to places where imams perform exorcism regularly for a month and a half.
In 2008, I arrived in the United States as an immigrant at age 18. After many months of going from doctor to doctor and from audiologist to audiologist for my hearing loss, I enrolled in high school. At the time I was enrolled in high school, I knew neither English nor ASL. The school hired a spoken Somali language interpreter for me for the first month to communicate with my teachers and classmates. During the second month of my high school experience, the English teacher decided to do a one-by-one meeting with me to teach me English and ASL for an hour a day, and that was how my ASL and English learning journey began. After graduating high school a year later, I enrolled in a transitional program, which led to adult education to further my English and ASL knowledge.”
*Photo is of Asma as a teenager in a classroom.