Category: Projects

Food for thought | A Ramadan fundraiser

By: ARAHA | Publish date: April 4, 2019

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



Get tickets Now:


Raffle rules
Enter for a chance to win an all paid trip 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!

The Forgotten Documentary – Minneapolis screening

By: ARAHA | Publish date: February 27, 2019

The Forgotten is coming to Minneapolis on March 30th, 2019!

The Forgotten is a 60-minute documentary that tells the story of an Eritrean American woman’s risky journey into the restricted and poverty-stricken Eritrean refugee camps in Eastern Sudan.

As the protagonist, her journey will open your eyes to the never-before-seen conditions that these refugees live in every day. She encountered many dangerous obstacles, yet, she made it back in one piece to share their stories and to be one of the international voices for the Eritrean refugee crisis.

Screening info:
March 30th, 2019 |12:30PM
Heights Theatre
3951 Central Ave NE.
Columbia Heights, MN 55421

Online ticket window is closed.  Tickets are still available for purchase at the door $25


Forgotten documentary Trailer

For a cup of coffee

By: ARAHA | Publish date: February 23, 2019

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. 🙂

2018 Highlights

By: ARAHA | Publish date: December 26, 2018

2018 is coming to a close, and it has been a wonderful year for us. With supporters like you, we were able to accomplish many things. Here are some of the major accomplishments:

  1. – Built Water catchment in two schools in Somalia
  2. – Launched our school lunch program across 7 schools and served over 2,000 kids with nutritious meals: Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia
  3. – Provided 4,298 families with food baskets in Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, & Yemen serving over 20,000 people
  4. – Provided meat to over 5,000 people during the Adahi season across the region
  5. – Completed the construction of a community center in Kilo 26 refugee camp including a school and a library.
  6. – Provided 686 Dairy Goats in Kenya, Somalia, Sudan providing a path to self-reliance for 350 families
  7. – Dug and built 33 water wells serving over 45,000 people: in Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, and Ethiopia
  8. – Provided Eid gifts: to 572 orphans in Somalia and Kenya
  9. – Furnished two schools with desks, chairs, and textbooks
  10. – Built Two large Brenda for our two high schools in Shegerab to provide shade for students
  11. – Built 6 toilets for the boy’s school in Shegerab camp – Sudan
  12. – Built two solar systems for two schools in a refugee camp – Sudan
  13. – Emergency intervention for Chikungunya virus outbreak in Sudan where we served more than 4000 people
  14. – Self-reliance: 20 donkey carts for 20 families in Somalia
  15. – Run two high schools in a refugee camp with over 400 students and staff – Sudan
  16. – Shipped and distributed 12 Containers of food and cooking oil serving over 2 million meals to internally displaced people and to schools students in Somalia and Djibouti
  17. – Sponsoring over 340 orphans across the region
  18. – Provided 32 college scholarships for refugee students in Sudan
  19. – Assisted two children with cancer to be treated: one from Djibouti and one from Sudan
 As you could see, in one year we all were able to accomplish the above. I’m excited and hopeful to do even more in 2019. Are you?!!

Highlights from “More than a refugee” Annual Dinner

By: ARAHA | Publish date: November 9, 2018

On October 20th, we had our annual dinner to raise awareness and funds about refugees in the Horn of Africa. The turn out was great, and the event started off with a wonderful keynote from Eskinder Negash on the history of refugees and the outlook we have. The night continued with amazing food from our friends at Holy Land, and followed by a great panel discussion featuring Mohamed Idris, Eskinder Negash, and Sabrina Aman. We then continued with our lifesaver award ceremony to recognize some outstanding individuals from our community who have contributed significantly to help people in the Horn of Africa region. We then concluded the night with a fundraiser in which our audience helped us to raise over $20,000!

We would like to thank all those who came out to support a great cause…To all our donors, supporters, speakers, partners, sponsors, staff, and volunteer; Thank you for coming out to support us and donating to a good cause.


You can check out some great photos taken by our friend at Altamish + Hannan photography:

Never too young

By: ARAHA | Publish date: June 7, 2018

Over the past few years, we have had a few passionate young people walk in our offices with enthusiasm, joy and passion to make a difference in the Horn of Africa, but not quite like Abby and Mia. Abby and Mia spent a good portion of their summer raising funds for people in need in the Horn of Africa, taking time to get together, prep, craft, plan and execute. To them this had become more than just a fundraiser, it was an opportunity to bond over something more than sports, fun activities, or hanging out. It was the idea of making an impact halfway across the world, and the experiences and values you develop along the way…Here is their story:

“We found this experience to be very important in developing good values and skills.”

Hello!  We are Abby and Mia.  We are currently 7th graders in South Minneapolis.  After spending a unit in school focusing on Somalia and their culture we wanted to do something.  When we learned about the famine, drought, and poverty so prevalent there, we felt that as we are so fortunate it’s our obligation to help those less fortunate.  We began brainstorming ideas for how to do so, and focused in on wanting to help children in the horn of africa receive an education. We realized how fortunate we are to get a free education and wanted to help others get an education of their own.  After researching organizations to assist us in our goal, we found ARAHA. We exchanged emails and met with them, appreciating their interest in our idea. We began fundraising by setting up stands and going to family and friends. Eventually we began selling bags we had sewn.  We had a youcaring page set up and fundraising was going really well. Our beginning goal was to raise $1000. Mia’s grandfather was so generous as to offer to double our fundraisings, so we ended up raising $2286.32.

We found this experience to be very important in developing good values and skills.  We are very happy with the work we have done and hope that others will be inspired to do similar work.  This experience made us realize how privileged we are and how different the rest of the world is.









Our long standing partnership with Holy Land Brand

By: ARAHA | Publish date: June 6, 2018

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.   

Combating deforestation

By: ARAHA | Publish date: December 19, 2016

The droughts and flash-flooding that the Horn of Africa is currently experiencing are occurring due in large part to changing climate patterns, but they are also exacerbated by another problem: deforestation, which has been going on for decades throughout the region.

According to research conducted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), forests serve as a crucial form of defense against poverty, providing about a quarter of household income for people who live in or near them. Forests also help to retain rain water, produce oxygen, keep soils fertile, and reduce pollution.

Yet more than 18 million acres of forest are lost each year, resulting in both regional and global problems. Millions, if not billions, of trees are lost due to construction, mining, agriculture, meat production, and forest fires. To make the problem even worse, industrialized nations consume more than half of the world’s lumber, leaving developing nations to bear the brunt of the effects with fewer of the benefits.

Combine deforestation with climate change, population growth, oceanic pollution, and overconsumption, and the results are devastating all over the world. But in regions like the Horn of Africa, where drought and poverty have hindered progress for decades, the situation is even worse.

It would be wise to recognize that this is not a situation that can be fixed in a day, or even in a decade. Fortunately, some governments in the region have recognized the importance of reforestation programs. In Niger, reforestation projects have turned barren land into agroforests; in Ethiopia, a similar program has restored over 2,700 hectares of land. Through initiatives like these, we find a glimmer of hope for the region.

ARAHA is striving to help combat deforestation in the Horn through our self-reliance projects, which provide nomads with four goats, a pair of trees, and information on the importance of protecting the environment.

All of us has a small hand in making a difference, and this is how we, with your help, have chosen to begin.

Refugee camps are no longer temporary

By: ARAHA | Publish date: December 12, 2016

There is no doubt that the international community provides critical help during a crisis. However, we may need to examine the approaches we use to assist those in need to make sure each effort is effective.

One of these approaches in need of review is refugee camps. Whenever people flee their homes and cross borders due to war, natural disaster, or dictatorial policies that turn normal lives upside down, the UN sets up temporary camps for them, housing families in tents that offer barely any protection or privacy. UN agencies provide basic life necessities to keep refugees alive until they are able to return to their home countries. Because decision-makers have the mindset that refugee camps are only temporary, education is rarely provided in refugee camps. When it is provided, it does not exceed elementary grade levels.

Yet in reality, many refugee camps cannot be described as temporary. Some camps are over 60 years old, such as the Palestinian refugee camps that originated in the 1948 war. Others, like the Eritrean refugee camps in Sudan, have been around for over 45 years. Even Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp (with over half a million people), has already been housing people for 25 years. It’s not unlikely to find two generations born and raised entirely within these camps. But the serious lack of high schools or vocational training centers available to refugees means they never have a chance to learn a craft and become productive members of society. These refugees thus become dependent on the food rations they receive monthly or regularly. They forgot what it means to live on their own earnings.

They are not to be blamed; they have been set up to fail. How can they succeed if they are put in an isolated area and not allowed to own property, train for a profession, or pursue higher education? They are not even allowed to move outside these camps without a permit from the host country. Consequently, millions of people within these generations go without educations, jobs, or skills, fully dependent on foreign aid to survive.

With each political conflict, war, and crisis around the world, the international aid community opens up new camps with same “temporary” mindset, hosting thousands of new families that will be fully dependent on the aid provided by relief organizations.

As the load of refugee camps becomes increasingly heavy and unbearable, UN agencies and NGOs find themselves unable to afford the ongoing costs. As the media spotlight fades from these old camps, and new crises get the attention, refugees find themselves left behind.

Therefore, we need to reconsider our approach to refugee camps. Currently, we are not only setting up millions of people to fail in their lives; we are also making it difficult for donors and funders to help, and for the UN and NGOs to cope with any new refugees. We need a new approach that promotes policies for refugees to sustain themselves and be able to return to normal life within a certain period of time. We need a path that enables refugees to stand on their own two feet and live with the dignity they deserve.