Khadija Ali Honored with United Way Maude Finch Award for Her Work Empowering Local East African Women
Rochester, MN – United Way of Olmsted County honored Khadija Ali with its prestigious Maude Finch Award during a ceremony on October 11, 2022, at Willow Creek Country Club. Ali was recognized for her outstanding contributions to the community, including co-founding Pamoja Women, an emerging local nonprofit that empowers girls and women of East African Heritage.
Pamoja is a Swahili word that means united. Pamoja Women provides educational programming for women’s physical and mental health, along with prevalent issues facing East African women in the Rochester community. In her culture, Ali explains, women must gather without men and have not historically had those opportunities in Rochester. “We want to teach our young girls that they have opportunities. Do not focus on one thing but open your mind to many possibilities,” said Ali.
Ali uses her background in public health to bring enthusiasm, passion, and assistance for the wellbeing of her community members. Pamoja Women, in collaboration with Channel One Regional Food Bank, are providing women healthy, culturally specific meals for their families. Girls are being registered for all-girls soccer programs during the summer, which offers a more physically active and healthy
Pamoja Women also offers a child-friendly room to remove barriers for women attending local gatherings. “We are the backbones of the house. We are the mothers - we raise the kids. We want to say to the women in our community, ‘whatever help you need, we are here for You!’” said Ali.
This prestigious award conferred by United Way of Olmsted County's Women United recognizes a community woman whose service or achievements are outstanding examples of living united to advance the common good in our community by giving, advocating, and/or volunteering service to United Way of Olmsted County or United Way partners. Named after the first recording secretary of the Rochester Community Chest, Maude Finch served as a role model for our community 90 years ago when she promptly donated her $20 in wages for clerical services back to the community chest. Her simple actions then, as now, serve as an example of giving back to make a difference in our community.
About Women United
United Way of Olmsted County’s Women United is a giving circle of women leadership contributors whose collective, caring power is building a healthier, stronger community.
About United Way of Olmsted County
United Way of Olmsted County unites people and resources to improve lives in the community with a focus on education, income, health, and basic needs – the building blocks for a good quality of life. United Way helps to achieve these goals by convening the community to address key issues, collaborating to achieve a measurable impact, and connecting human and financial resources to improve lives.
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United Way of Olmsted County