One of ARAHA’s keystone programs is education, with an emphasis on serving refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). These populations are living in limbo, locked up in refugee camps without the ability to sustain themselves. Because they are often strangers to the countries they flee to, refugees are unable to work, travel, or find other means of regaining their livelihoods. They remain in a cycle of poverty, dependant on charity and aid organizations.
The best, proven solution ARAHA has found to this problem is education. When the children stuck in these refugee camps have a chance to learn, it gives them a massive advantage and a chance to improve their futures as well as those of others in the camps. This is why ARAHA has built two high schools in Shegerab refugee camp in Sudan. Every year over 80 refugee students graduate from these schools, which are the only ones in the camp of over 35,000 people.
The next best step for many of these students is to study at universities, where they can further their education. ARAHA has put a scholarship fund in place for the brightest graduates.
But schools and scholarships don’t fund themselves. They are ongoing and often large expenses, and to keep them running, continuous support is required.
Fortunately, ARAHA and the refugee students of Shegerab have the generous backing of Holy Land Grocery and Deli as well as its owner, Majdi Wadi.
A socially responsible business with a concern for humanitarian issues, Holy Land has long been an involved donor and benefactor of ARAHA’s programs, contributing more than $127,000 over the past several years.
As just the latest example, in 2017 Holy Land sponsored scholarships for 15 refugee students from Shegerab refugee camp. Scholarships cover tuition fees, food, hostel fees, and transportation for the student for the minimum time required to graduate. These high school graduates will be going to college to continue their educations and attain even greater heights for themselves and their families.
In addition to these 15, Holy Land has committed to sponsoring an additional 5 refugee graduates every year for the next several years, to reach a total of 60 students sent to college.
Going even further than support for individual students, Holy Land is almost single-handedly supporting one of ARAHA’s two high school in Shegerab with multiple donation options onsite in their store–which, to date, have contributed more than $33,000 towards the school–as well as through direct monthly donations.
Holy Land’s generous long-term partnership with ARAHA, and its commitment to educating students in need, makes it a wonderful role model for other businesses to follow.
We have joined other organizations to condemn the efforts to to de-fund Islamic Relief Worldwide (Islamic Relief USA ).
Leading humanitarian organizations expressed grave concern about a proposed amendment to the State and Foreign Operations section of the House Appropriation bill (HR 3354) by Congressman Ron DeSantis that would strip funding away from Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), a global humanitarian organization dedicated to the alleviation of poverty and suffering.
The thirteen organizations – American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa (ARAHA), Bread for the World, Care, Child Fund, HIAS, InterAction, International Rescue Committee, Global Links, Mercy Corps, Project C.U.R.E., Relief International, Oxfam, and Women Thrive – stand united in support of IRW and call the allegations against the organization baseless. More than 500 audits of the organization have failed to find any evidence to support Rep. DeSantis’s allegations.
Read More: IRW-joint-statement-13-groups-FINAL
The American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa is a registered non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. ARAHA is a small nonprofit working in and with the Minnesota community. For the last 15 years, ARAHA has been delivering the essentials necessary to provide relief to those suffering from drought, disease, hunger, and illiteracy in the Horn of Africa region, which includes Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. ARAHA also helps families break the cycle of poverty by developing opportunities for them to generate an income and educate their children.
As many of you might know, East Africa is currently facing yet another drought and the possibility of famine. The last rainy season was extremely dry and brought little water relief to the region, leading to a situation in which crops and livestock are failing to grow, people are being forced to migrate, and many families have been reduced to eating just one meal a day. Over 21 million people are suffering in this region. When the last famine hit East Africa in 2012, over 260,000 died. More than half of them were children.
This drought is part of a continuing trend of higher temperatures and lower rainfalls that we’ve seen in the region over the last three decades. Both of these trends have been attributed to climate change, and it will only get worse if we do not act. There is no time to lose in addressing climate change. The longer we wait, the more people around the world will suffer from drought, famine, and other consequences, especially people in developing countries like Somalia and Sudan, where climate change effects are projected to be the worst.
We must continue to demand action from our government and from governments around the world, and this march today is a demonstration of just how many people care and are willing to make that demand. But we must also look at our own actions. In some areas of East Africa, people have access to just 3 gallons of water per person per day. In contrast, the average American uses over 100 gallons of water per day. What are we doing to reduce our water consumption? What other actions are we taking? Are we reducing the amount of waste we produce, resisting the urge to buy every new thing, reducing or eliminating our meat consumption, taking public transportation, donating to environmental causes?
We cannot expect to see positive change for people in need in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and around the world until we first make that change within ourselves. Let us continue to work for positive action on climate change together as individuals and as a nation.