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Stories from the Field

Attending School Ensures SayidAli Receives an Education and Nourishing Meals

By Amanda Whitmyer on December 13, 2022

In Somaliland’s Salahley District, 14-year-old SayidAli lives with his parents and eight siblings.

Due to the semi-arid climate, the area has faced a prolonged drought. Pasture shortages for livestock and inadequate health facilities have also impacted the community’s primary industry and human health. These effects have directly impacted SayidAli’s father, a farmer, who had to move away to find water and pasture for his livestock.

In addition to the drought, food prices have increased drastically due to the economic impacts of COVID-19 and global conflicts. As a result, many in the community, including SayidAli’s family, face food shortages. “We don’t have enough to buy all the needed food,” SayidAli said.

SayidAli and two of his siblings attend school in the area. At school, they receive a nutritious meal provided by Rise Against Hunger and distributed by partner American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa (ARAHA). Rise Against Hunger supports the community by providing cash grants to ARAHA for local and regional food procurement. Students are served meals at school and provided take-home rations for their families.


According to Dr. Sahal, assistant director of ARAHA Somaliland, they provide locally procured food to more than 900 students and their families. Ali, the school’s principal, explained that the school meals and take-home rations have a “double advantage” for the students. Dr. Sahal shares, “They get enough food during schooltime, which helps them to travel [to and from school] without any problem… Their families also get enough food to feed their children at home, which is an advantage to them and their siblings.”

The school meals have helped SayidAli and other children in the community. “The assistance has helped us attend school regularly, unlike before, and we are also happy that more children are now attending school from our community,” SayidAli said.

With SayidAli attending school more regularly, the principal has high hopes for the student’s future. “I hope SayidAli will be a doctor who will help his community,” Ali said. “I also hope that he will achieve his dream one day.”

Interested in growing the movement with Rise Against Hunger to support lives just like SayidAli and his family? Consider hosting a meal packaging event with your business, church or school to package meals distributed around the globe to help people facing food insecurity.