Not all news is bad news! Here is some feel-good news to remind us that all hope is not lost. On May 1, the storytelling website Somali Faces shared the story of a poor Somali woman and mother, Hooyo Iisha, who faced discrimination for being a minority and having dark skin. And within 21 hours, over $4,000 was raised through Go Fund Me for the sake of this mother.


Somali Faces is an online project started by Donia Jamal Adam and Mohammed Ibrahim Shire, both storytellers and photographers, and aimed at capturing the diversity of Somalis and their experiences. The project has two main objectives: to challenge the narratives of the Somali people to the world, and then to encourage Somali people to move beyond clan and tribal discrimination. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that through their platform they have been able to change the life of Hooyo Iisha and her children.


Hooyo Iisha is an Internally Displaced Person with eight young children. From a Somali minority clan, Hooyo Iisha spoke about her poor treatment in her own country and feeling like she did not belong. She could not afford to send her children to school and made a living cleaning people’s houses. Her oldest child, aged 14, resorted to begging and would often face abuse doing that. Hooyo Iisha mentioned contemplating suicide, considering death a better option than living under the harsh conditions she endured.



Readers reacted strongly to Hooyo Iisha’s story and called for a fundraiser to help the mother of eight. Discrimination in Somali of ethnic Bantu and other minorities is a serious yet barely discussed topic. Yet, it does lead to many Somalis feeling excluded from society due to their minority status or skin color. This mother’s words succinctly capture the situation. Readers and supporters of Somali Faces donated generously to the Go Fund Me despite its impromptu nature. In an update on Hooyo Iisha’s situation, Somali Faces wrote, “When people come together for a common human cause, it’s a priceless thing.” The mother of eight listed her needs as daily costs, repairing her house and putting her children in school. She received $3,888.35 after transaction and Go Fund Me fees were deducted.


What can be done to address the problem of discrimination and tribalism within Africans? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter @rafeeeeta