Hot Sun Foundation

Vision of Hot Sun Foundation: Social transformation through art and media. Mission: Identify and develop youth talent in East African slums to tell their stories on film. Rapid urbanization in East Africa and lack of options leads to wasted talent and frustration among the youth. Training in filmmaking enhances their creative potential, creating role models and cultural leaders from within their communities.
Jul 25, 2011

Report 2 from Liboi, Somali border with Kenya

Survival Backpacks Team Assist Somali Refugees
Survival Backpacks Team Assist Somali Refugees

We've just returned to Nairobi, Kenya from the trip to the Somali border today (20 July) and now the real work begins. Thanks  to all for your continued support throughout the trip: with your help we were able to achieve a great deal in a very short time.

We were able last night to put together a couple short videos that briefly summarize the trip, things to generate excitement and anticipation for the larger documentary of the trip that we expect (very optimistically) to be ready by Saturday. It is the hope of Ahmed and the rest of the Survival Backpacks team that we will hold a press conference in Nairobi for the doc's unveiling, and from that we will be able to generate a lot of local (Kenyan & Somali) support.          

I don't have much time for updating at the moment, things are pretty hectic here, but I wanted to write and thank you all for everything that you have given to this project. Being a part of this team, seeing the things I have seen and working with the people I have worked with has been the experience of a lifetime. I can honestly say that we saved the lives of people this weekend, if only for this weekend. It is a very special thing to have been a part of, and it wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for you.

In the words of an American woman we met on the street in Dadaab, thank you all for all that you do. It's people like you that make this world a more bearable place, and it is people like you that will make this world a much better place. 

Let's keep up the momentum on this. Let's not let this stop here. The things we covered along the Somali border with Kenya NOBODY has covered...nobody is talking about this. We are leading the charge here.

Best wishes,
Matthew Wilder, Hot Sun Foundation

Somali refugee tells her story
Somali refugee tells her story
Jul 25, 2011

Take Action: Survival Backpacks Somali Refugees

Matt, Ahmed filming, Liboi, Kenya
Matt, Ahmed filming, Liboi, Kenya

24 July 2011

THANKS to the 76 people who have contributed to Survival Backpacks for Somali refugees in Kenya.  A quick update and a request for all of you to reach out to others. You are the people best qualified to reach more people, get more resources and assist more Somali refugees. Your support makes a difference for the young filmmakers who are dedicating their time, skills and resources to reach Somali refugees on the border with Kenya.

Here's what we have accomplished so far.  Using their own resources, a Survival Backpacks team of three Somali filmmakers Ahmed Farah (Founder RIYO Films and Director of HCTV Africa), Abdisalaan Aato (Founder of Bartamaha and Wargelin popular somali website) and Deeq. M. Afrika (Co-founder of Global Somali Youth Agenda and founder of, popular Somali website ) together with two filmmakers from Hot Sun Foundation, Claudette Oduor (Kenya) and Matt Wilder (USA) went to Liboi, Kenya on the border with Somalia. While they were in Liboi, the Survival Backpacks team saw no other organizations yet present to assist the thousands of Somali refugees camped out in the sand and dust.

For a firsthand report on what the Survival Backpacks team saw and did, go to

An example of the response from Somali refugees to Survival Backpacks team:   We said to one of the refugees, 'We know this is very little. We are sorry if this is not enough for you and your family, but there are very many people on the road and we have to save a little for them as well." Do you know what the refugee did? He returned half of the little we had given him. "Please," he said, "Give it to them."

Right now the filmmaker team is working on a short documentary about the situation facing Somali refugees on their way to Dadaab.  The trailer is on Youtube  Dadaab: Get there or Die Trying. Survival Backpacks is featured on AfricaFocus Bulletin

As a supporter, you are part of a unique project that arose from the on-the-ground work at Dadaab refugee camp by Somali filmmaker Ahmed Farah. Because Hot Sun Foundation has worked with Ahmed and exists as a community media program with infrastructure,  we were able to help immediately.  Survival Backpacks is an innovative intervention by young filmmakers that has a powerful psychological impact as well as materially assisting refugees.

We are requesting that each of you send at least five emails to friends and family and post information about Survival Backpacks on Facebook, Twitter and blogs.  We post daily the results of donations to Survival Backpacks on Global Giving and send out individual thank you's to every supporter.

All of the Survival Backpacks team and members of Hot Sun Foundation thank you for your support. 


Abdisalaan with Somali refugees Liboi, Kenya
Abdisalaan with Somali refugees Liboi, Kenya


Jul 19, 2011

Team Report from Liboi, Kenya at Somali Border

Somali refugees walked 21 days to Kenya border
Somali refugees walked 21 days to Kenya border

Last weekend the Survival Backpacks team went from Nairobi to Liboi, Kenya near the Somali border to make an initial assessment.  Our team consists of three young Somali filmmakers Ahmed Farah, Abdisalaan Aato and Deeq M. Afrika plus two from Hot Sun Foundation: Claudette Oduor,  (Kenya) and Matt Wilder  (USA). During our trip, Deeq M. Afrika stepped on the soil of his motherland for the first time in twenty years. He fled Somalia at 6years old.

Our trip was self-funded and through the donations of friends and family. We distributed supplies, took photos, and filmed videos on what we saw. All of which we will share through updates and with others in the relief efforts. You can follow us on twitter at Dadaab_Response.

Here are some impressions of what we saw in the area between Dadaab and Liboi, Kenya at the border with Somalia.

Took food and clothes to the new arrivals tonight. They are sleeping in the sand, under the stars, in a field of animal carcasses. Huge groups of children just laying out of doors in 40 degree heat. No shelter.

The Somali soldiers are very fluid-tempered. One argument and they were ready to pump the street. I saw guns pointed at my face. Gunfire a few metres off disrupts our interview today. Shots rang out but nobody was hurt.
Refugees banding together. Clan and tribal issues not present. But warlords/armed men still misbehaving.

Local transport and food business on border with Somalia have doubled their prices due to drought .

Met this group near the border. (see photo). They just arrived in Kenya from Somalia. They walked for 21 days. One of the refugees we met today lost 3 children in the bus to Kenya. But she gave birth to a baby girl in the bus, named her Hawa.

Survival Backpacks team distributed food, milk, water. So much more is needed. We are returning to Nairobi Wednesday 20 July for more supplies. Another trip planned.

Thanks for all your support.  Keep it coming. 

Donations needed NOW so we can buy more supplies in Nairobi and return to Liboi. 

Survival Backpacks team videos Somali refugees
Survival Backpacks team videos Somali refugees
Survival Backpacks team interviews Somali refugees
Survival Backpacks team interviews Somali refugees
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