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San Diego State University



Abdimalk Buul

Changing the Lives of Local Youth

Abdimalk Buul, a San Diego State alumnus, received his Bachelor in Arts as a Sociology major in 2010, and is presently a graduate student in the Community Based Block (CBB) program. Known by his friends as Abdul or Malik, he is committed to making the San Diego community a better place for local youth. He recently produced a documentary film called Redemption thru Re-invention that narrates the lives of a Somali post civil war society reinventing itself in America in one of the most diverse areas of City Heights.

As a Youth
In 1991, Abdimalk Buul migrated from his hometown in Somalia, a country in Africa. From Somalia, Buul and his family fled to Kenya. While in Somalia, Buul recalls corruption in government officials, harassment, shootings, and fires. Buul and his family traveled by night, hid, and slept throughout the day. Buul says that during the night, the sky was lit; not through the stars and the moon, but by the bombs, fires, and deaths occurring. Buul and his family were unable to travel during the day since this was when people were killed for trespassing, vandalizing, and, but not limited to, just trying to migrate. If people from another village saw Buul and his family migrating, they would kill his family because they were in a place where they did not belong.

In 1992, Abdul Buul and his family arrived to the United States, first lived in New York and then moved to San Diego, California. He grew up in the City Heights Area of San Diego, an urban area including violence, gangs and drugs. Buul mentioned that many of his childhood friends are either dead or in prison for life.

Buul expressed having difficulty learning a new language; yet, the most difficult challenge for him is balancing two identities. At school, he was now American; however, at home, he was Somali. When he first arrived to San Diego, Buul fluently spoke Somali. This is no longer the case since he assimilated to the American language.
Buul did succumb to peer pressure earlier in his life. When he was young, he got in trouble with running with the wrong crowd. During the same time, his brother got hit by a car and went into a coma. Additionally, Buul’s mother became pregnant. Realizing the pressures associated with significant changes in his family, Buul decided to focus and turn his life around. Buul says, “I got rid of all the bad apples around me because I cut them off.”
Buul disconnected his phone, isolated himself to become more reflective, and became more spiritual with the Muslim religion. He began to do well and good things started to occur. Buul’s mother had a healthy baby, his brother recovered, and he addressed his discrepancy with the law.

As a Collegian
Thankfully, positive individuals helped and guided Buul on the right track. While attending a local community college, he joined the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and eventually became president. This helped him be a positive individual all around because he was now a role model to other individuals.
Buul transferred to SDSU choosing Sociology as a major. He loved studying society, and comparing and contrasting different societies. During his years at SDSU, Buul became the founder and president of the Somali Student Council in addition to being an active member of MSA at SDSU. He initiated numerous programs to educate others about the Somali community and participated in community service. Along with other students Buul helped local nonprofit organizations like Embrace with food and clothing drives for the homeless.

As a Community Leader
Buul started a program called ELEVATE, Enhancing, Learning, and Education Via Activities that Empower. The purpose of this program is to educate and marginalized youth from refugee backgrounds about resources and networks available to success in society.  ELEVATE uses sports as a pulling factor by facilitating basketball tournaments and incorporate the importance of college, financial aid, and education as well.
Buul believes education is where it starts. His ultimate goal is to start a school for orphans in Somalia as well as make documentaries about social justice. Buul says, “I like to do documentaries because I like to bring forth the social injustice and inequalities to a venue where we all have access to, which is the media.” Buul has already completed his first documentary.

 Abdul Buul currently works for a local non profit as an employment case manager, assisting refugees transitioning from welfare to the work force, while achieving financial self sufficiency. He is also currently taking graduate courses at SDSU and promoting his documentary film titled Redemption thru Re-invention that narrates the lives of a Somali post civil war society reinventing itself in America in one of the most diverse areas of City Heights.He is also an active leader in the San Diego Somali Youth League, a local organization that has raised funds to fight the famine in Somalia.