EPISODES

The episodes provide a glimpse into our lives and our common vision for the Horn of Africa despite our differing backgrounds. We show the opportunities we have been blessed with and hope to inspire and motivate the diaspora to give back to our region. We hope to demonstrate how past conflicts cannot continue to dictate the relationships between the generations of today. Ultimately, the series follows our journey of discovering our identities, building relationships and uncovering the potential of our homelands and the part we can play in helping them achieve that potential.

ABOUT THE SELAM PROJECT

We created the Selam Project to spark a movement of peace and collective harmony within the diaspora of the Horn of Africa through prompting our generation to set aside past conflicts and embrace our similarities. The movement is now. It is ongoing. It will not end tomorrow. We did not start this project to just be a temporary short-term goal for unity. We started the Selam Project as a means to see the countries of the Horn of Africa strengthened and thriving as their vast potential begins to surface through a movement of collective action. We hope to use the movement as a medium for the diaspora to give back to the Horn. As children are the foundation of a country, the overwhelming number of orphans throughout the region represents an important opportunity to ensure our countries reach their full potential. Therefore, as a larger aspiration of the Selam Project, we feel very passionately about creating efforts that will invest in the wellbeing of, and create opportunities for, orphaned children in our homelands. This is the movement. This is what we are working towards. Join us in the movement of unified action to actualize the potential of the Horn of Africa.

OBJECTIVES

As children are the foundation of a country, the overwhelming number of orphans throughout the region represents an important opportunity to ensure our countries reach their full potential. Therefore, as a larger aspiration, we feel very passionately about supporting the educational goals of young orphaned children in the rural areas of Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, and Eritrea, specifically focusing on those who have lost their parents due to HIV/AIDS or civil war. The Selam Project will provide educational resources such as school supplies, uniforms and school fees in addition to funding for basic needs such as food, water, clothing and shelter. Our support will continue until the children graduate from High School and go on to University to pursue their future careers. This is the movement. This is what we are working towards.

THE TEAM

Elshadai Getenet

My name is Elshadai Getenet, I’m a 22 year old University student living in Canada. I was born and raised in the Dadaab Refugee camp in North Eastern Kenya….for the first six years of my life this was all I knew. Many children my age didn’t make it out alive, but my parents sacrificed everything to make sure I survived, so when I wake up in the morning, I thank God for giving me another day of life. I told myself there are enough of us in the diaspora to make a change.

So I brought together the brightest minds I knew, those I grew up with, the friends I called my family, my brothers. Awet is from Eritrea and we met when we were kids playing on the same ball team, he’s family. Mohamed and I met in school, and he has a heart for his homeland, Somalia, and wants to do whatever he can to make his country the best it can be. Despite being from different countries, we come from similar backgrounds, we call the horn of Africa home...we grew up together and we always considered each other family.

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Mohamed Farah

My name is Mohamed Farah and I'm a 24 year old university student. I am a Somali-Canadian, born and raised in Canada. My family had the fortune of not going through most of the hardships many from the Horn of Africa have endured. After highschool, confused about what I wanted to do with my life, I made my first trip to Somalia and stayed with my grandmother in Bossasso. During my journey there etched in my mind were my Mother's words "Somalia broke my heart", a phrase I often heard as a child. I expected as such, devastation, ruin, poverty, and hopelessness. Instead, I saw a people who were kind, generous, hospitable, hospitable and proud. Despite the environment, they were literally making something out of nothing, there was a severe lack of opportunity, chiefly due to region’s instability. Yet there I was coming from the land of opportunity, confused, and on the journey of "finding myself”.

Coincidentally, with those few experiences and interactions I found purpose, and returned home. Deciding that from now on I would contribute my own time, and resources to help individuals away from the troubles, poverty, and sickness, and guide them to a position to succeed. Accomplishing whatever it takes for my people in Somalia to succeed, and I knew just where to start, the diaspora.

With the amount of Somali diaspora around the world, that love their people, who are educated, business or tech savvy, motivated, ambitious, and/or just kind hearted, I felt extremely confident that success is right around the corner. Fortunately it doesn't take much to spark a light, we all remember constantly hearing the saying "you can be whatever you want to become", yet our brothers and sisters back home are still waiting to hear it. I strongly believe that motivation and a solid support network will make a world of a difference in the Horn of Africa.

Meeting like hearted individuals inspired me to move broader than Somalia. The histories of the countries in the Horn of Africa are intertwined, cultures are vastly more similar than different, all strong in our faiths. The one message resonates within our hearts Selam (Salaam), peace will pave the way to making the Horn’s potential a reality.

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Awet Abraha

My name is Awet Abraha. I am Eritrean-Canadian, 21 years old and attend university in Calgary, Canada. I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and I lived there until the age of 6. During my time in Ethiopia, I spoke Amharic fluently and also spoke Tigrinya at home. As an Eritrean child in Ethiopia, I never felt any division, nor did I feel out of place. As young as I was at that time, the amount of unprivileged homeless families i witnessed stood out to me. I have vivid memories of my mother taking them food and trying her best to comfort them on a regular basis. By showing this type of generosity and care to the needy with her actions, she instilled in me a valuable lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

When the border dispute war broke out in 1998, my family and I were forced to leave everything we had and flee the country. My brother and I ended up in my grandmother’s house in Asmara, Eritrea while my widowed mother flew to Italy and then Canada in search of a better life for my brother and I. During this critical moment in my life in Eritrea, I was able to get a deep understanding of the beliefs and values of my culture. Also,I witnessed countless people living on the streets and struggling just to make it to the next day. Not being able to help them deeply saddened me and these images have been embedded in my mind ever since. I promised myself and made it a goal of mine to come back and help my underprivileged brothers and sisters. After spending three years in Eritrea, my brother and I were united with my mother and found a new home in Calgary, Alberta.

Now, some of my closest friends are from the Horn of Africa and we’ve never looked at each other as being different because our similarities overshadowed any differentiation we may have. When Elshadai approached me with this incredible plan to unite and help our people, I was thrilled and excited to get started.

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Mina Jama

My name is Mina Jama, I am a Somali-Canadian and a graduate of the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. I was born in Somalia, and like many others in the diaspora, left at a very young age due to instability and the civil war. What little memories I do have of Somalia are beautiful, and I hope to return there one day to make a difference in my homeland. My mother and I first arrived in Harlem, New York. We didn’t speak the language, we didn’t understand the culture or the American way of life, and similar to many immigrants, we experienced great culture shock. After a brief stay, we moved to Ontario, Canada where I grew up most of my life before moving to Calgary. Like many other Somalis I felt disconnected from my country of origin, and found myself caught in between growing up as a Canadian and retaining my Somali identity and culture.

I believe the education, experiences, and resources available to us in Canada can be used to change our region of the world, especially if we come together in the spirit of cooperation. Many of us living in Canada have had similar experiences, we have a longing to help, a desire to connect to our homelands and our people, and a will to make a difference in the lives of the people back home especially the young children and I think all we need is something to bring us together and make that change a reality. The Selam Project brings together like minded individuals from the Horn of Africa who want to work together for the good of their nations, and I am proud to be a part of such an inspiring movement. I for one will use all my power and resources to bring about a positive change within the Horn and the lives of its people.

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THE HORN OF AFRICA

The Horn is a region in the Northeast quadrant of the African continent, which comprises the countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti (some consider Sudan to also be a part of the region). Due to its strategic location, the Horn of Africa flourished with many powerful civilizations and empires with extremely strong trade relations within the ancient world which allowed different types of people, languages, and customs to blend together and create a completely unique and remarkable culture. Eritrea is home to the Dahlak archipelago, where some of the most beautiful coral reefs and aquatic life in the world are found. It is also a country with some of the highest archeological historical discoveries and the most ancient settled civilizations. Ethiopia, the oldest sovereign African country that retained its independence, is the birthplace of coffee and the custom of drinking it. It is also the origin of the oldest human remains. Despite its small size, Djibouti is a powerhouse for wonder and excitement as evidenced by its unique position within the Afar Triangle atop three diverging tectonic plates, which make it one of the hottest and most isolated places on the earth. Also, the country is home to the world’s oldest stone tools. Somalia’s long oral poetry tradition has made it known as the nation of poets. It has several ancient port cities scattered along the longest coast in Africa, which they used along with their enterprising nature to trade and compete with the ancient world from their shores. The unique features, histories and experiences of each of these countries come together to define a region that we are proud to be a part of. Although the countries within the Horn of Africa face multiple hardships, such difficulties do not define the region; rather, the nations represent an area defined by incredible diversity, breath-taking scenery, beautiful people, distinct culture and rich history, ultimately representing a region that holds great and vast potential.

mission

A movement that inspires peace and harmony in the Horn of Africa
and among the diaspora to stimulate a collective support for the region.

vision

To spark a movement towards unlocking the true potential of the horn of Africa.

reach out

We would love to hear from you! Contact us at reachout@selamproject.com.