Mohammed, Khadra

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Mohammed, Khadra

Personal

Born in Yemen; married; children: three children. Education: University of United Arab Emirates, B.S.

Addresses

Home—Pittsburgh, PA. Office—Pittsburgh Refugee Center, 1901-15 Centre Ave., Ste. 203, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Pittsburgh Refugee Center, Pittsburgh, PA, executive director. Has worked with refugee populations, both in United States and in refugee camps in Pakistan and Kenya, for more than twenty years.

Awards, Honors

Committed Collaborator Award, Education Law Center, 2005; named Woman of Distinction, Girl Scouts of America, 2005; 40 under 40 Award, Pittsburgh Magazine.

Writings

(With Karen Lynn Williams) Four Feet, Two Sandals, illustrated by Doug Chayka, Eerdmans Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 2007.

(With Karen Lynn Williams) My Name Is Sangoel, illustrated by Catherine Stock, Eerdmans Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 2009.

Sidelights

Khadra Mohammed, executive director of the Pittsburgh Refugee Center, is the coauthor of Four Feet, Two Sandals, a picture book based on her experiences working in the city of Peshawar, on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Mohammed, who was born in Yemen to Somali parents, has devoted her life to helping the disadvantaged. "Though I am not a refugee, I identify with their struggle to maintain their identity," the author remarked in an interview on the Eerdmans Books Web site. She added, "Writing Four Feet, Two Sandals has made me realize how much the publishing world lacks stories about the plight of refugees."

Four Feet, Two Sandals, cowritten with Karen Lynn Williams, centers on ten-year-old Lina, an Afghani girl who lives in a refugee camp. When relief workers distribute clothing to the camp, Lina takes possession of a single, bright yellow sandal, and she later spies another youngster, Feroza, wearing the one that matches. The girls agree to share the footwear, wearing the pair of sandals on alternate days, and they quickly become friends. When Lina receives word that her family will be relocating to the United States, the youngsters must decide who will keep the sandals. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called Four Feet, Two Sandals a "poignant story," and Hazel Rochman, writing in Booklist, praised the authenticity of the work, describing it as "the personal drama behind the daily news."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2007, review of Four Feet, Two Sandals, p. 72.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 5, 2001, Diana Nelson Jones, "A Rock for Refugees: She Helps Immigrants Navigate the Choppy Waters of U.S. Culture"; October 3, 2007, Cristina Rouvalis, "Book with Local Roots Speaks to Refugee Children."

Publishers Weekly, October 29, 2007, review of Four Feet, Two Sandals, p. 55.

ONLINE

Eerdmans Books Web site,http://www.eerdmans.com/ (September 1, 2007), interview with Karen Lynn Williams and Mohammed.

Pittsburgh Refugee Center Web site,http://www.pittsburghrefugeecenter.org/ (February 1, 2009), "Khadra Mohammed."

Publishers Weekly Web site,http://www.publishersweekly.com/ (February 21, 2008), Shannon Maughan, "From Pittsburgh to Pakistan and Back."