Refugee family graduates together from Madison College - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Refugee family graduates together from Madison College

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From left: Umaima Mohammed Saed, Shaimaa Ahmed, Mustafa Mohammed Saed From left: Umaima Mohammed Saed, Shaimaa Ahmed, Mustafa Mohammed Saed

MADISON (WKOW) -- This weekend, thousands of graduates in Wisconsin are getting their degrees, but graduation is family affair for a trio from Madison College.

Umaima and Mustafa Mohammed Saed and their mother, Shaimaa, all graduated together from Madison College Friday night. 

They left their native Iraq after receiving a death threat from Al Qaueda. They spent seven years in Malaysia as refugees, then came to Madison in 2014.

Now, they say they're grateful for the opportunities they've had.

"For me it was like a dream," said Mustafa. "When I was in Malaysia I was dreaming of college and school and now it's true and I'm so lucky to be here."

The family graduated with honors, and they say they worked hard for all they've achieved.

"It was very hard to be a refugee -- we were sitting at home and we were unable to go to school," said Umaima. "It was not an easy thing but mom helped us and started teaching us at home."

Now, the three family members will continue their studies at UW-Madison. Umaima wants to be a physicians assistant, Mustafa wants to be a dentist, and Shaimaa wants to be a nurse. For them, healthcare is about serving the community.

"We know how they feel because we went through the difficulties," said Mustafa. "We thing we should give back."

For all the moms out there, Shaimaa wants women everywhere to know that no matter their circumstance, they can achieve their dreams.

"I tell them you can do it since I can do it, and I have four kids, I'm working, I do everything at home," she said. "I'm a student now, for me it was a very big thing."

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