By Judith Gicobi
After winning Ksh10 million (USD100,000) in the St. Paul based Bush Foundation fellowship fund, former Kenyan journalist Abdiaziz Ibrahim will be able to pursue his dream of learning solid leadership abilities.
In an interview with the Star Tribune on Wednesday, June 8, the former journalist, who worked at a Kenyan radio station when he was 18, said he planned to use the money to get a master’s degree and spend the remainder on self-care activities like exercising and eating healthy.
His ascension to the top has not been simple since he arrived in the United States in 2006 after quitting his radio job in Kenya.
“I went to school and two years of college (in Kenya), studying broadcast journalism. At 18, I worked at a radio station in Nairobi, broadcasting in English and Swahili. I used to gather news and go to events.”
“I came to the U.S. at the beginning of 2006 — 16 years and counting. For 15 of those years, I have had something to do with affordable housing,” he told the publication.
His decision to pursue a profession in real estate in the United States was prompted by the linguistic barrier that existed between his family and immigration agents.
He swiftly gained expertise in the industry, initially as a property manager for Real Estate Equities Development LLC in 2007.
In December 2013, he was promoted to property manager at CommonBond Communities, and subsequently to refugee housing case manager at the International Institute of Minnesota.
“For the last seven years, I’ve been working for the Metropolitan Council in the Metro HRA Section 8 program.
“I have also started a nonprofit (Immigrant Housing Solutions, which helps families access affordable housing in Minnesota),” he explained.