Skip to Content

New program aims at building bridges between cultures

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – As you might imagine it’s not easy trying to get acquainted with a new country, but Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association or IMAA is looking to ease that transition with its new “Match” program.

The match program connects long-term local residents with new arrivals.

Shukri Hassan (left) holding her youngest and Sherry Jester

“I never had any interaction even though there’s so many Somalis in Rochester, I never had any interactions with the Somali community, we lived in parallel worlds,” Sherry Jester said. Jester is a stay at home mom and a pediatrician by trade joined IMAA’s match program and met Shukri Hassan, a mother of four who came to America with her children and nobody else.

When Jester first met Hassan, there was more differences in the beginning, “We met for the first time and she spoke Somali the entire time, and I thought I don’t know how this is gonna work,” Jester said.

It all worked out over time, “Anything I needed in my life, most of it she has helped us with it the past two years we have been here,” Hassan said. “Mostly, I help her go through paperwork to understand what they’re asking of her, fill out forms, I’ve helped her do a lot of things like work through the systems,” Jester said.

A year and a half later, a friendship both ladies never could of imagined emerged, “I’ve learned about Somali food and traditions, stuff I wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise,” Jester said.

Two people from two different countries helping one another understand their similarities and accept their differences, it’s a match you might say was made in heaven.

“I believe until I die she will be a part of my life, she’s already my family member we got to know each other, we eat together, we visit I’ve learned a lot,” Hassan said. “So much value in it and that I see ways that they could of fallen through the cracks without somebody to lend them a hand,” smiled Jester.

If you would like to learn more on this program, click here.

Ubah Ali

Ubah Ali

Skip to content