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article imageSomali-Canadians launch humanitarian appeal on Ogaal Radio

By Farid Abdulhamid     Jul 18, 2011 in World
Toronto - Shocked by the unfolding humanitarian disaster that is afflicting their war-torn nation, Somali-Canadians are taking action to help alleviate the ongoing suffering in Somalia.
The Abar Project spearheaded by ARAN Somali-Canadian Relief Organization, has launched a fundraising appeal during a live broadcast on Ogaal Radio, 88.9FM on Sunday, July 17th. Ogaal is the largest Somali language Radio Program in Canada reaching over 150,000 listeners in the Greater Toronto Area and across Southern Ontario every Sundays, 10:00 p.m. - midnight and millions throughout the world over the internet. Abar is Somali for draught and the project hopes to mobilize Somali-Canadians to take direct action to help mitigate the humanitarian crisis.
Anchor Hassan “Karate” was joined in the studio by two prominent Somali-Canadian activists from ARAN, Suad Aimad and Hassan Sheikh Adan to appeal to Somali-Canadians to donate generously toward the relief campaign for the victims of the humanitarian disaster in Somalia.
Somalia has been hit by the worst drought in 60 years and seniour UN officials have declared it “the worst humanitarian crisis” in the world today. Approximately 3000 refugees cross into neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia each passing day while thousands others are displaced inside Somalia. 450,000 Somalis are crammed in the world's largest refugee camp located in Dadaab, Kenya, near the Somali border.
Clearly emotional over the airwaves, Suad Aimad spoke of the horrifying conditions facing the victims of disaster saying that children are dying on the way to refugee camps and called upon the Somali-Canadian community to urgently lend a helping hand. She said that "we live in the land of plenty (Canada) where people throw food into garbage while poor people in Somalia are starving".
“The most vulnerable in Somalia have no voice. This crisis is a wake- up call for all of us. We must take immediate action to help the needy. We call for a Somali-led Initiative to confront the humanitarian disaster. We don’t have to wait for others to act. We should take action of our own to rescue the suffering masses” said Suad.
Hassan “Karate” urged Somali-Canadians to support the Abar Project, an initiative of the ARAN Somali-Canadian Relief Organization.
“The human suffering stemming from this disaster is beyond comprehension. Left with no food and water, people have been trekking long distances in search of help. Many have fallen on the way. As Somali-Canadians, we must do everything in our power to alleviate this suffering” said Hassan “Karate”.
Hassan Sheikh reminded the public that donations toward the Abar Project are tax deductible as ARAN has a charitable status.
“The Abar Project is an initiative of the Somali residents of Lawrence and Weston neighbouhood of Toronto. ARAN is an autonomous organization that promotes self-directed, community-based action. There are no aid organizations on the ground in the worst affected areas in Somalia such as Bay and Bakool regions etc. We must start by utilizing our own resources to help our people” said Hassan Sheikh.
The Somali people are caring says Hassan Sheikh but more needs to be done. He noted that ARAN has launched a letter writing campaign targeting Canadian government officials and urged Somali-Canadians to help bring about policy changes so that Canada can respond more effectively to the humanitarian disaster that has hit Somalia hard. ARAN is planning to organize a number of fundraising events to assist the victims of disaster in Somalia. The organization is also launching a clothing drive as part of its ongoing relief efforts.
Earlier in the broadcast, Sheikh Abokor of Toronto's Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque appealed to Somali-Canadians to donate generously toward the humanitarian cause stating that it is a moral and religious obligation to help the vulnerable in their most difficult hour.
Local mosques, including Khalid Bin Al-Walid and IMO are collecting donations for the victims of disaster. These donations are being channeled through Human Concern International, an NGO that operates in 34 countries including Somalia. The Somali money transfer company, Dahabshiil, is also accepting donations that are being sent directly to victims of disaster housed in the Hager Dheer refugee camp.
During a phone-in session that solicited the views of Ogaal Radio listenership, Somali-Canadians expressed their concerns and pledged to take action. Many callers emphasized the significance of Somali unity in addressing this monumental crisis afflicting their beloved nation. A united front that transcends clannish and regional loyalties is key to resolving the crisis, they said.
To donate money toward humanitarian relief in Somalia, potential donors can reach ARAN’s Abar Project by phone at the following numbers:
Hassan Sheikh (416) 837-1948, Suad Aimad (647) 703-7229.
Ogaal Radio is also involved in the relief efforts and people can reach anchor Hassan "Karate" at (416) 278-2944.
More about Somali Canadians, ARAN SomaliCanadian Relief Organization, Hassan "Karate"
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