Maryan's Story

In 2007, after having been shot in the leg, Maryan Mohamed fled the violence in Somalia with her mother, father, and one brother. They traveled to Uganda, where Maryan married and had three children. During her seven years as a refugee in Uganda, a woman from the U.N. repeatedly encouraged her to apply for resettlement by herself, that she would be able to bring her family soon. The woman told Maryan, “You have the strength.”

In 2013, leaving her eldest daughter and son with her husband in Uganda, Maryan and her four-year-old daughter, Fathi, left for the United States. During the Domestic Medical Examination for Newly Arriving Refugees, Maryan learned she was pregnant. Her daughter, Nalyal, was born in March 2014. The family moved from Phoenix to Mankato that October and, just a few months later, Maryan and Fathi enrolled at Good Counsel Learning Center.

In 2019, Maryan applied for citizenship; her exam and interview were scheduled for early July. Despite attending class throughout the school year, she still had much to learn — so we allowed her to attend summer school with her daughters!  Maryan expressed her faith in prayer, telling us, “I pray to God. God told me I will pass.” Maryan’s hard work and prayer paid off: she passed the interview and exam, becoming a naturalized citizen just a few weeks later. Becoming a new American is only part of Maryan’s plan: she, Nalyal, and Fathi continued to study two hours a week in the Learning Center until COVID-19 forced us to end the 2019-2020 school year early. 

For years, Maryan has worked diligently with her attorney to bring her husband, eldest daughter, and son to the U.S. Her first setback was Executive Order 13769, which prohibited refugees from coming into the country for 120 days. Next, she had to arrange DNA testing for herself and each of her children living abroad to prove their relationship. Each test cost the family $800.  Just when the family had cleared their last hurdle and began to plan their reunion, the coronavirus pandemic emerged. While Maryan continues to raise Fathi and Nalyal, she also works to raise the needed money for the plane fare, keeping in touch with her family through Skype and trusting that the day will come when children and parents will be reunited at last.

You can support learners like Maryan, Fathi, and Nalyal. Click here or call Dave Coughlan at 507-389-4235 to learn more.


Earlier this year, Sister Dorothy Zeller and Dave Coughlan accepted a donation of $1,500 from the Mankato Clinic Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to encourage and support the health and well being of our community through health initiatives that promote and improve community wellness. This gift supports the Learning Center's scholarship program for families.

an affiliated ministry of the

Good Counsel Learning Center

170 Good Counsel Drive

Mankato, MN 56001

​Tel: 507-389-4229

​Fax: 507-389-4205

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