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From Hargeisa Somali to the Halls of Harvard-How Abdisamad Muhiyadin Adan Defied the Odds.

Abdisamad Muhiyadin Adan

Abdisamad Muhiyadin Adan is set to begin his freshman year at the prestigious Harvard University this month on a full scholarship, after graduating from Abaarso School of Science and Technology, Somali.

Before joining Abaarso, Adan could neither speak nor write English, but he didn’t think that or anything he has been through was enough to make him lose heart or fear to pursue his dreams.

Adan’s parents were divorced before he was born and so he was raised by his grandmother in a poor neighbourhood in Somaliland, without access to clean water or electricity.

Despite being born in an environment where education was not considered anything to strive for, Adan fought tirelessly to stand out and bring about change in his family and community.

He excelled as he studied by candlelight at night and performed superbly in his local primary school. He also finished second in the country in the national eighth grade exams, yet he insists that he is just a fortunate young man who recognized opportunity and embraced it heartily.

“I’m not the smartest kid in Somaliland but I’ve had [the] opportunity [to attend Abaarso],”


Looking into the future, Adan is especially interested in economics and political science as he wants to focus on academic subjects that will help him serve his country after he graduates. “I’m just trying to put myself day after day in a better position to help my country,”

He also hopes to become the president of his country when the time is set.

In all of this, Adan’s grandmother imagined that the young change maker may either have missed his bearing or dreams too highly for his age, especially since no one in his family has got any form of education.

“She was definitely not happy in the beginning,” Adan tells CNN. “She asked me, ‘Are you starting to hate us? Are you falling in love with Americans?’ ”


Now in Harvard, Adan seems to be settling in just fine, ready for whatever challenge he may encounter.

“People kept telling me that Harvard is really really competitive and everyone is trying to beat you. I was like, great. That’s what I want.”

He received financial assistance to study for a year at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York, where he proved his ability to maintain track with his American peers.

With eyes set on the goal and hands fixed on the plough, young Adan is set to take the world.

Lovelyn Okafor
Lovelyn Okafor
Lovelyn Okafor is a Journalist/Writer, Poet, Lawyer and God-Lover. She enjoys a good read and sees everyday as an opportunity to live and enjoy her calling whilst working towards perfecting it. She believes that someday soon, Africa will reach her full potential as the light-bearer of the world. You can find her on Twitter: @lovelyn_o

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