COVID-19: Impact on ARAHA

Dear donors and supporters,

We hope you and your family are well as we all try to cope with the impending circumstances and challenges posed by the growing spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Due to the ongoing situation, we have canceled our Ramadan events, including our Annual Ramadan fundraiser dinner; unfortunately, this will have an impact on our work in providing aid for the most vulnerable.  As you may know, small organizations like us heavily rely on donors and partner support to provide aid across the Horn of Africa region. 

In the area where we serve; mainly rural areas and refugee camps, there are no healthcare systems that can handle such an epidemic.  “If this virus has killed thousands in developed countries like China and Italy, and also killed hundreds in Spain and Iran, you can imagine what the death toll will be in Somalia if nothing is done, Mohamed Mohamud Ali, chairman of Somali Medical Association (SMA), told Al Jazeera”. According to Mr. Ali, there is no single testing kit in the whole country of Somalia.  

Fortunately, the region currently does not have a large number of reported cases, but our team on the ground is assessing the situation and we are preparing to take action. We will be putting a health package based on their recommendation. 

We understand the incredible strain of uncertainty and social disruption this will cause in our community, with a disproportionate impact on those individuals and families least able to deal with the financial and economic disruptions at hand. However, your support and contribution are vital in these difficult times; no matter how small it may be.  

This is a time to watch out for each other; check on your neighbors and friends; reach out to one another and keep each other safe particularly those who are most vulnerable among us. We remain hopeful that we will get through this difficult time together, and we hope you continue to be part of the ARAHA family.

On behalf of ARAHA 

Mohamed Idris
Executive Director

Leave it in the people’s hearts

There are no words to describe my feelings during my last visit to the Shegerab refugee camp in East Sudan. I am happy and beyond blessed to see that our efforts are impacting the lives of thousands of people in these camps; I am sad and in pain for these people whom I called the FORGOTTEN. , living in extreme poverty, with no medical attention, and missing the very basic necessities of life such as clean water and electricity.
There are thousands of refugee camps and millions of people around the world living in similar or worse conditions and they need all of us to unite to try to make a difference in their lives.

A special thanks to brother Mohamed Salih Idris and his great team from ARAHA for partnering with Holy Land, and giving us the opportunity to be part of these efforts and for all that they are doing in the Horn of Africa. In the beginning, I was hesitant to take this trip but now after having made it the least I can say is “it was the best trip I ever took“ and a trip that definitely will change my life forever.

A very close friend of mine once asked me what I wanted to leave behind after all these years of continuous hard work, accomplishments, and success in my life; my answer was “a legacy to be always remembered“
he replied “then leave it in the people’s hearts“

I didn’t understand him at the time but after this visit, I understood exactly what he meant.

A projector operator


19 years ago as a young teenager interested in helping Somalia, I came across a group of older men who came to Al-Huda mosque in Minneapolis in 2001 and they where presenting a PowerPoint presentation. They struggled to operate a projector at the time, needed some help. I was skilled with AV tech stuff so I came to helped them fix the problem, which was easy for me! This led me to learn more about this group of people and an organization with a long title the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa (ARAHA) was doing. After the presentation and fundraising, they thanked me then offered me to help count the money that night. They could see my deep appreciation for the work they were doing and asked me to join and help more.

20 years later my life has been transformed and enriched by ARAHA. I have been part of a small but growing team of staff, board volunteers that have made ARAHA of the leading and most successful relief organizations in the US focusing on East Africa. Millions of people have benefited from ARAHA and the people of ARAHA mostly its generous donors. I have had the great opportunity to travel to the Horn and see first hand for my self the impact. I have spoken to my peers and community here and across America telling the story of ARAHA to all those that could hear.

Full Interview Transcript

I cannot believe it’s been 20 years, first of all. ARAHA 20 years ago for me was an alignment between I guess what most immigrant families or younger generation think about– They think about how can I help the place that I escaped That so many people that you know are still struggling with.

I know that most of the people who came from Somalia-for example, where I came from; that only you know a small percentage of maybe even one percent or even less than one percent actually is here has the privilege of being in America. And so as a young kid growing up in Minnesota with my family, I was instilled in this idea of helping others. And that’s something that I think both of my parents instilled in me–and obviously through my faith and through the teachings of our prophet.

So it’s interesting how I eventually connected to ARAHA…ARAHA at the time was a brand new organization; I was at Masjid (mosque) Al-Huda in Minneapolis and this was Ramadan–At the time I was just starting College. At the College, I was helping out as a work-study job. I was an AV Tech, so I was at the Masjid and here comes at the time I think brother Mohamed and sheikh Omar and I don’t remember anyone else ( I think brother Adam). they come to the Masjid they have this projector, they have a screen and they’re presenting. And it’s a very short time in Ramadan when people can do that, very limited, maybe 10 minutes or less sometimes and they’re struggling as the projector is not working and they’re trying everything figuring out which cable and I really feel bad for them and at the time you know, I knew a little bit about how to do A V. So I said “I can help” I got up there And started to figure out; quickly fixed it. They’re up there. They showed the video, and I think it slides PowerPoint slides you know and you know and at the time I didn’t think of anything. I just help them get their projector, but the Organization spoke to me; but it wasn’t that.

It was also the way the board at the time and these brothers also reached back so I help them and then they’re like “are you interested in helping us tonight? We still need people to help count this money” And I help them count the money help a few more things. and I found myself that ARAHA wasn’t so distant.

If I was willing to do something then here’s an opportunity and… at that time was such a you know the beginning stages. The entire organization was run by volunteers Since then I’ve I have been part of this Organization. I would say that I don’t know what I would be without this Organization.

I think everything that I do today. the way I carry myself the skills that I’ve learned and the ability to feel that there’s a lot of possibilities in difficulties, in places, or ideas. When you go from starting, you know, brand new organization To getting it to where ARAHA is today and seeing the amount of hard work that has been taken over years to develop It’s is really remarkable. So that’s how I got introduced to ARAHA.

Since then I’ve been on the board. I’ve traveled to the region many many times. and every time I travel–Every time I get more engaged. I become even more closer to the work and I think that’s true to anyone who volunteers you know. I would say the people who inspire me the most are even our donors.

The more even if (one) donor shows up to one of these refugee camps or sees one recipient. They probably will donate three times more. because they’ll see not only the work but they will touch the impact. They’ll see how big of an impact ARAHA has on people’s daily lives.

And so as the Organization grew, And today I would have to say that I’m proud of the work of ARAHA And I’m proud of the ability and the progress this organization has made. I think for many people who wanna know what how this organization started. It really started with people with big hearts, big ideas, little resources. but knew that there are a lot of people, who if they heard the message. They would also be able to respond.

I hope my story inspires you to take the journey with ARAHA as a volunteer, a donor and more in the next 20 years and beyond.

20 years in the Horn: A Ramadan Celebration

Join us this Ramadan for our annual fundraiser dinner as we celebrate 20 years of work in the Horn of Africa region. Over the years you have helped us to shape the lives of millions of people. This will be one of few events throughout the year to highlight incredible stories, our impact in the region, and what we envision for the next 20 years. #ARAHA20

Save the date!
Saturday, May 9th

Moundsview Community center
5394 Edgewood Dr.
Mounds View, MN 55112


Somalia Fact Sheet: 2019-Quarter 2

Somalia Fact Sheet: 2019 – Quarter 2


➤   Number in need of food/humanitarian aid: 5.4 million

➤   Malnourished children: 1.2 million

➤   Internally displaced people: 2.6 million

➤   Number of refugees: nearly 1 million (as of June, 2019)


New Highlights
Somalia is experiencing the negative impact of erratic and abnormally performing Gu’ rains (April – June) which followed a poor 2018 Deyr season (Oct-Dec), and unusually dry conditions during the 2019 Jilaal season (Jan-Mar). This has compounded the limited recovery from the severe drought of 2016/17. The effects of the poor Gu’ are expected to persist until late 2019.

Conflict, insecurity, lack of road access and limited logistical capacity continue to hamper the delivery of aid. In the first half of 2019, 51 humanitarian personnel were directly affected by violent incidents. Of these, two humanitarian workers were killed, two injured, 11 abducted, five arrested or temporarily detained, and two expelled by authorities for alleged infractions. Improvised explosive device attacks in highly-populated areas, particularly in Mogadishu, continue to claim civilian victims, including humanitarians. Humanitarian organizations are experiencing road access challenges in 42 districts across the country.

The humanitarian operation in Somalia remains underfunded despite the deterioration in the humanitarian situation. At the end of the first half of the year, $473 million had been received for the Somalia operation with $410 million towards the 2019 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and $59 million for activities strategically aligned with, but outside of the Plan. Current humanitarian funding to Somalia is lower than that recorded by mid-2018 when the Somalia operation had already received $711 million. Funding for the food security cluster is below 50 per cent of financial needs.


Food Security
The Overall 2019 Gu season rainfall performance was normal to below normal in terms of amount but highly erratic and poorly distributed. The rains started a month late in most areas leading to a prolonged dry period in some areas and moderate drought conditions in others especially during March and April. The last half of May saw increased rainfall activity, including heavy storms that lasted a few hours and distributed within a period of less than ten days during the whole season.




Kenya Fact Sheet: 2019 – Quarter 2


➤   Requiring immediate food assistance: 1.1 million (June, 2019)

➤   Malnourished children: Around 325,000

➤   Internally displaced people: 311,000

➤   Number of refugees: 470,000


New Highlights
The death toll from heavy rains and flooding in Kenya has risen to 186, and an estimated 800,000 people have been affected, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS). This includes an estimated 300,000 who have been displaced and nearly 100 injured, although many of those displaced have begun to return home.

Kenya’s Finance Minister Henry Rotich pleaded not guilty to corruption charges, a day after his arrest over graft in a multi-million-dollar project to build two dams. Rotich appeared in an anti-corruption court in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

Prosecutors charged him with multiple counts, including abuse of office, conspiracy to defraud the public, failure to comply with guidelines relating to procurement, and committing an offence of financial misconduct, among others. His arrest on Monday marked the first time a sitting Kenyan government minister has been held on corruption charges.

Food Security
The overall food security situation in the ASAL counties deteriorated in the month of May 2019 with more households in crisis phase of IPC classification. The poor performance of the long rains has resulted into poor regeneration of forage and minimal recharge of surface water sources in pastoral livelihood zones. In marginal livelihood zones, crop condition is poor with expected drop in production of more than 60 percent and consequently more food insecure households.



Ethiopia Fact Sheet: 2019 – Quarter 2

➤   Requiring immediate food assistance: 8.3 million

➤   Malnourished children: around 5 million

➤   Internally displaced people: 3.2 million (as of June, 2019)


New Highlights
Ethiopia is experiencing extreme weather variability with some areas experiencing drought, while others are impacted by flooding. Based on the National Meteorological Agency’s weather forecast for the kiremt/summer (June-September) rainy season, the Government-led Flood Task Force released a revised Flood Alert listing areas at risk of flooding during the current rainy season.

Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) Update: The 2019 HRP of US$ 1.313 billion is currently 44.52% funded, including $288.1 million in Government funding and $296.2 million in international donor funding. At the end of March 2019, the Government and humanitarian partners had released the Immediate Funding Priorities document which lays out urgent funding priorities costed at $332.9 million for three months (April-June), stemming from the 2019 HRP, to support donor funding decisions.


Food Security
Following the below-average performance of the Gu/Genna rainy season, southeastern pastoral areas are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through at least November 2019 due to the poor regeneration of pasture and water resources that have negatively impacted livestock productivity and household income. The forecasted near-average 2019 Deyr rainy season is expected to lead to gradual improvements in livestock body conditions and productivity, though it may not significantly improve household food and income access.



Job Opening: Executive Assistant | Part time

Job Title: Executive Assistant (Part time)

3900 Jackson St. NE STE#10, Columbia Heights, MN 55421

Reports to:
Executive Director

Overall Purpose:
To perform general administrative duties and provide support to the Executive Director.

Duties & Responsibilities:
The duties and responsibilities listed below are representative, but not all-inclusive, of those the Executive Assistant will be expected to undertake and carry out.

  1. Assist the Executive Director in day-to-day administrative, communication, and clerical functions
  2. Write, review, and edit miscellaneous reports, proposals, drafts, and documents
  3. Manage one or more of ARAHA programs and/or projects
  4. Manage building maintenance, event planning, and meeting management tasks
  5. Communicate with state and federal agencies, companies, and non-profit organizations as needed
  6. Assist with financial management tasks
  7. Maintain email correspondence and handle correspondences of ARAHA’s diverse individual donors, funders, field offices and partners.
  8. Perform all duties in a manner to ensure a positive image of ARAHA;
  9. Other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.

The preceding functions have been provided with examples of the types of work performed by employees assigned to this job classification. Management reserves the right to add, modify, change or rescind work assignments and to make reasonable accommodations as needed. The requirements listed above are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Needed skills:
Excellent verbal and written communication skills, common computer and clerical skills (including word processing, use of Google Drive, etc.), calendar management, meeting management, and mail management skills. Careful attention to detail and excellent organizational and project management skills. Can-do approach, problem-solving skills, and a genuine commitment to service and support are essential.

How to apply:
Please e-mail resume and cover letter to the following email:

Food for thought | A Ramadan fundraiser

Come join us on our annual Ramadan fundraiser at Columbia Heights high school as we raise awareness and funds for our school lunch program in the Horn of Africa region. Our goal for the year is to sponsor 5,000 students; at the event, we hope to sponsor 1,000 students. Our keynote speaker will be none other than the one and only Sh. Yusuf Estes.

About School Lunch Program:
Hunger is a serious obstacle to learning. Students who don’t get enough to eat lack focus, earn weaker grades than their well-fed peers and have a harder time staying in school. Daily hunger can impair education and consequently an entire life.

To combat this, ARAHA recently kicked off a school lunch program across many schools in the Horn of Africa region. This has the triple benefit of alleviating hunger for children living in poverty, ensuring that the students maintain their focus in class, and providing an incentive for children to attend and stay in school for longer periods of time. In recent months, we have also expanded our program in some schools to include breakfast meals.

Event details

Saturday, May 25th, 2019 | 6:30pm-9pm
Columbia Heights high school Auditorium
1400 49th Ave NE, Columbia Heights, MN 55421

Online ticket window is closed.
 Tickets are still available for purchase at the door $10/person


Raffle rules
Enter for a chance to win an all paid trip for two on a journey of a lifetime to make Umrah. To enter the raffle, all you have to do is make a contribution to our school lunch program benefiting kids in the Horn of Africa region; sponsor at least one student for one year, and you will be entered into the drawing.

You can sponsor a student for a school lunch program on our donation page here or at the event. The raffle entry closes on the day of the event (May 25, 2019)!

We will draw the winning number from the raffle at our Annual fundraiser, and announce the winner. So it is very important that you be there!

Online raffle window is closed.
 You can still contribute at the event to be entered

For a cup of coffee

Imagine not knowing if or when you’ll eat your next meal. Imagine not having any resources to change your circumstances, the harsh reality of not having your basic needs met; This is the reality for many families in the Horn of Africa region where ARAHA works. But what if I told you that you can make a difference in their lives with just a cup of coffee? Yes, a cup of coffee! This same $5 or more you spend at Starbucks, Caribou or any of your other favorite spots can provide a meal for an entire family in places like Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

Sometimes we underestimate our ability to make a difference, you don’t need to be rich to give, you just need to care and want to make a difference.Our Sustainer Project ‘Band of Hope’ allows you to be a part of every single project that ARAHA implements for the cost of 1-10 cups of coffee a month ($5-$50). It allows for your contribution to make a difference to the neediest people in the Horn of Africa.

So today you can be the hand that feeds the starving, that gives water to the thirsty and the hand that changes lives for the better.
Make the decision to become a sustaining contributor with just a cup of coffee–Your generous hand will contribute to a brighter future with more possibilities today.

Don’t hesitate or belittle the impact of your donations. Organizations like ARAHA exist because of the pressing need to bring relief, assistance, and a brighter future for refugees and people who need it the most. Take a stand with ARAHA and help us today by becoming a sustainer…for just a cup of coffee. 🙂