People of Siouxland – Portraits of the Exraordinary: Fatiya Adam

In 2005, Fatiya Adam came to the U.S. at the young age of 17 years-old. She didn’t know how to read, write, or speak English. “Zero English,” she said. 

Fatiya was born and raised in Ethiopia, a landlocked country on the Horn of Africa. She never imagined she would be living in America. 

“I was a teenage mom with an 8-month-old. Alone, without my parents, without my family.” 

Despite her challenges, Fatiya graduated from Marshall Senior High School in Marshall, Minnesota in 2009, and pursued her college career at Marshall State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Fast forward 15 years later to 2020, Fatiya is the Director of Refugee Program at the Mary J. Treglia Community House in Sioux City, Iowa. MJTCH is A non-profit organization that educates, empowers, and advocates for Siouxland’s newcomers and immigrants. 

“I love what I do, and I get to do it every day.” 

Fatiya has been part of MJTCH since 2013, empowering and educating hundreds of families as they adjust to a new life in Siouxland. “This place is like my home.” 

She speaks five languages and serves as an interpreter for the community house, helping translate paperwork like employment applications and other necessary documentation for immigrants. 

“Helping people, helping their lives, it makes me smile knowing that I can do that for others.” 

In 2019, Fatiya and her husband purchased their very own home in Sioux City’s Northside. Together they have three daughters, one boy, and a newborn.

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