Knowledge = Light: this student-run NGO is making education a right


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Ahmed Hassan is an Outreach Director at the Somali Education Fund.

From learning how to read to struggling with higher mathematics, education opens a world of opportunities for youth and pushes them to reach their full potential.

But what if our education was a luxury we couldn’t afford? What if we spent our childhoods working full-time to support our families? Unfortunately, this is a devastating reality for many children around the world.

The Somali Education Fund (SEF) is trying to change that for children in Somalia. Created by a group of Ottawa-based students, this not-for-profit organization lives by a timeless Somali saying: Aqoon la’aan waa iftiin la’aan – to be without knowledge is to be without light.

The Somali Education Fund team

In 2016, the SEF connected with a school in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, and pledged to support ten particularly disadvantaged children. These children have all lost one, if not both, of their parents and have been taken in by family members who struggle to provide them with the basic necessities. The SEF’s goal is to support and fund the tuition costs of these students until they graduate. The education they receive will not only provide opportunities for them but their families and community as well.

The SEF raises funds through bake sales at Carleton University, local events, and online campaigns. Despite only working with one school so far, the long term goal is to establish a network across the Horn of Africa to ensure children around the region have access to education.

The Somali Education Fund helps sponsor children through school.

Since their inception in late 2016, they have already paid two full years’ education for all ten children. Last year, the SEF opened its first chapter at Carleton University. A new generation of members have already joined and the organization is growing!

Follow SEF on Facebook and support their online campaign

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