MINNEAPOLIS, October 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
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."
SOURCE Africa Business