Along South State Street, in Syracuse, N.Y., Deynaba Farah and her family live just beyond the Carrier Dome in an apartment complex with other Somali families.
After she gets home from working with second graders all day, Farah reads Islamic books to a group of girls every Friday night at 5 p.m. She often picks up Nottingham High School children after school in exchange for attending her book club.
At sunset, girls gather around Farah’s apartment to read "Great Women of Islam." They joke as Imran Osman, 6 months, joins the circle because no boys are allowed.
Those involved in the Muslim faith pray five times a day. Deynaba leads sisters, friends and her mother in prayer right after dusk at her home in Syracuse.
Hawa Dahabo, Mahamud Farah, 17, and Hawa Omar, 15, follow Deynaba as she leads them in prayer.
Asha Omar, 5, holds the small hands of 6 month old Imran Osman, as he sits in Mahamud Farah's lap. The Farah family has six children and many cousins both in Somali and America.
Halima Abdikhadin, 9, and Hawalul Ali, 13, are Farah's students who attend her class on Saturday mornings. Her students learn the pronunciation of Arabic letters and sounds with the hope of being able to read the Quran later.
About 20 children sit on the Farah’s living room floor for an hour each week, reciting after Farah as she reads to them. Each student has a $10 entrance fee as an incentive to come to class and for Farah to be able to buy school supplies.
Halima Abdikhadin, 9, stood up in front of the classroom to copy all of the notes off of Farah’s board. The students are expected to behave well, sit straight and copy Farah’s notes. Each student is provided with a book of letters that she orders.
Deeza Adan and Ikran Kahiya sit along the wall silently after their classmate, Shaniyah Ali, misbehaved during their class time.
Farah reads "The Seerah of the Prophet," an Islamic text, at their weekly book club. She hosts one book club for the boys and one book club for the girls each weekend. She hopes to one day have these children not only know about their religion but feel comfortable being Muslim in America.
Each school day Farah works not only with school kids, but with her family and community members as well. A pile of shoes sits alongside the consistently open front door as kids come in and out of her apartment for back to back classes.