Suleiman Ali just finished a training program at the Geeks Academy
Suleiman Ali just finished a training program at the Geeks Academy

Suleiman Ali is a Somali refugee who fled violence and traveled to Italy where he now works as a Big Data junior expert.

Suleiman Ali is 26. He was born in Saudi Arabia but his family is from Somalia. ''My parents had to flee to Saudi Arabia due to the war. I was born and grew up there until I was 18'', he tells InfoMigrants. He subsequently had to travel back to Somalia because the rule is that one cannot stay in Saudi Arabia if one does not work there, Suleiman explains.

Somalia was very new to him, Suleiman recalls. "I didn't know anything." So he decided to go back to Saudi Arabia to work, but bureaucratic problems forced him to rejoin his family. 

'You either leave or become a criminal'

In Somalia, Suleiman had to deal with the extremism of Al Shabaab. ''You cannot live in the country: there are two roads, either you leave or you become a criminal''. His family was threatened, although he doesn't want to talk about it, and Suleiman was forced to flee along with his brother. 

"I have two other brothers and two sisters, and I don't even know if one of them is alive", he explains. At the end of 2013, one of his brothers left for Malaysia while Suleiman traveled back to Saudi Arabia where an old school friend helped him get a passport and travel documents. 

In 2014, he flew to Venice, Italy, where he applied for asylum. ''I stayed for a month and then left for Germany'' but after eight months he was forced to return to Italy due to the Dublin protocol. Suleiman then traveled to Rome and was housed at the center for asylum seekers ''Casa Benvenuto'' of the cooperative In Migrazione. In July 2016 he was granted refugee status. 

Training and work as a data expert

Ever since he was a child, Suleiman had a big passion: computers and technology. ''I am good with computers. When I arrived in Italy I didn't think I would have the opportunity of developing this passion''. Thanks to the help of In Migrazione, he was able to study Italian in a language course. 

On April 5, Suleiman also started a training program in ''Big Data and Business Integration'' at the Geeks Academy, a digital training network based in Rome, Milan, and Bologna which promotes integration through technology.

After completing the course on June 15, Suleiman is training at the multinational Catenate as Big data junior expert. In September, Suleiman could get the opportunity of working for the company.

In the future, Suleiman would like to do something for his family. "The situation in Somalia is increasingly difficult. If I live alone, I don't feel like I am really alive", he tells us. That's why he wants his family to join him in Italy.

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