October 22, 2012, Minneapolis, MN-
Dahabshiil has helped raise $100,000 to provide health care, clean water and employment opportunities in Somalia as part of a diaspora-led campaign in the US.
Led by former 1500-metre World Champion, Abdi Bile, Minnesotans undertook a three-mile sponsored run in the 193-acre Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. The run, dubbed ‘Run to Unite’ was part of the I AM A STAR campaign a sustained redevelopment drive to aid Somalia in its recovery following two decades of violence, displacement and hardship.
Run to Unite set out to build the world’s longest paper chain for Somalia. For each dollar donated, a link was added to the chain with each dollar then matched by Dahabshiil. The chain, a symbol of hope for Somalia’s recovery, was also used to determine the eventual length of the sponsored run as fundraisers urged the diaspora community to help provide an essential lifeline for families in Somalia.
Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil, said: “The Somali diaspora have and will continue to play a fundamental role in the process of rebuilding Somalia. The proceeds will help to provide life-saving care and assistance to more than 175,000 people in Mogadishu.
“Émigrés in the United States, Britain, Sweden and the Gulf help thousands of families across the Somali territories every year through the provision of remittances. Dahabshiil is there on the ground, so we physically see the incredible difference that this money does make. The effort of the Minnesotans to help us raise $100,000 in cash aid is simply remarkable.”
Handling international money transfers of under $200 on average, Dahabshiil is in effect a provider of micro-remittances. Initiatives to improve access to finance for poor communities are increasingly at the forefront of international policy, and Dahabshiil is now looking to partner with leading international NGOs to expand its offer to include other microfinance products.
Globally, money sent home by migrants constitutes the second largest financial inflow to developing countries a vital source of income that outweighs donor aid. Remittance income is particularly important for communities in more remote regions within the Somali territories, and helps to bolster the funding of humanitarian organisations operating in those locations. The United Nations estimate that remittances worth approximately US $2 billion are sent to Somalia every year.
In addition to Somalis, Dahabshiil also works with other communities including Ethiopians, Sudanese, Rwandans and Ugandans and the company has several outlets in the United States.
The Minnesota-based American Refugee Committee(ARC) founded the I AM A STAR campaign in 2009, to unite large Somali diaspora communities from San Diego, Columbus, London and other cities to keep aid flowing into the region. Since its inception, I AM STAR has raised over $1 million to support efforts in Somalia as well as providing food aid, developing mobile health clinics and even facilitating employment through cash-for-work programs. As the largest private sector employer in the Somali region, Dahabshiil has worked closely with ARC to supplement and foster its humanitarian aid efforts.
Daniel Wordsworth, President & CEO of the American Refugee Committee, said: “As one of the only humanitarian aid organisations operating in Mogadishu, we’re doing everything we can to help people access the care they need. The support we received from Dahabshiil through Run to Unite will enable us to implement basic, yet critical programs which will save lives.
“Run to Unite was not only about fundraising for Somalia, but also about shining a light on the incredible contributions of the Somali diaspora. Minneapolis is home to one of the largest and most successful Somali expat communities in the world. Diaspora members gathered to share Somali culture and foster community ties in our own neighbourhoods so this is a powerful and I believe more symbolic representation of the Somali community.”
Dahabshiil is an international funds transfer company, and the largest in the Horn of Africa. The company has a network operating across 150 countries worldwide. Headquartered in London, Dahabshiil provides a broad range of financial services and invests in state-of-the-art technologies in order to offer both SMS notification and 24-hour online transfers to its customer base. Dahabshiil has a comprehensive and robust compliance and anti-money laundering programme used throughout its network to ensure full compliance with all relevant regulations and is a member of the UK and other national money transmitter associations, which promote self-regulation and full compliance with international regulations. Dahabshiil continues to support the Somali community both in Africa and abroad, investing US $1 million dollars into community regeneration projects involving the development of schools, hospitals, agriculture and sanitation. To learn more, visit www.dahabshiil.com.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN REFUGEE COMMITTEE:
American Refugee Committee programs are built from the ground up. We work with people at the most vulnerable points in their lives, when they have lost everything to war or disaster. They let us know what they need most, and we work together to develop ways to help them get it. Our programs are as diverse as the people we serve, but they all work together for the same goal: to help people take back control of their lives. We have worked with refugees around the world for more than 30 years, and our 2,000 staff members help nearly 2.5 million people a year throughout Africa and Asia. ARC teams operate relief programs on the ground in Somalia, offering life-saving services such as clean water, health care, sanitation, employment opportunities, and programs to keep women and children safe. ARC is building a 21st Century humanitarian organization rooted in co-creating with committed people to provide more meaningful solutions to humanitarian crises worldwide. “I AM A STAR” is grassroots platform created by Minnesota neighbors with the American Refugee Committee. I AM A STAR is built on a solid foundation of trust and collaboration. It is rooted in the Somali diaspora communities’ leadership, and it makes room for the solidarity and creativity of motivated people everywhere. We are based in Minneapolis, MN. To learn more, visit www.facebook.com/IAMASTARforSomalia or www.ARCrelief.org.
Contact: Therese Gales, American Refugee Committee; 612-607-6494; ThereseG@archq.org