Survival Backpacks for Somali refugees in Kenya

by Hot Sun Foundation
Ayub and Ahmed distribute food at Daffur, Kenya
Ayub and Ahmed distribute food at Daffur, Kenya

Greetings from northern Kenya, near the border with Somalia!

On their last trip, the Survival Backpacks/Global Somali Response team found the situation had changed at Dhobley inside Somalia. Because of conflict, they were unable to return to Dhobley on this trip.

Therefore the Survival Backpacks/Global Somali Response team changed their plans and found a group of Somalis inside Kenya at a place called Daffur, that had no supplies. The 320 people, men, women, and children were not receiving help from any organization and were in severe need.

One Somali explained, " We have lost everything, all our cattle. We came here hoping life could be better".

Watch the short video about the distribution at Daffur on

Thanks for all you do!

Ayub talks with young girl at Daffur, Kenya
Ayub talks with young girl at Daffur, Kenya


Somali refugees waiting for Survival Backpacks
Somali refugees waiting for Survival Backpacks

On 16 August 2011, the Survival Backpacks team distributed supplies to 250 Somali families near the Kenyan border with Somalia. 

Here is one Somali woman's story:
"I left with ten children and lost seven of my boys and my husband on the road. We started to drink each others' urine for 28 days to stay alive. Now I'm here only with three of my children" (Khadija)

The Survival Backpacks team is gathering supplies in Nairobi, including 3000 emergency shelters, to take to the border with Somalia early next week.  We are also preparing more video footage of stories from Somali families, which we will post on youtube.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Abdisalaan Aato delivering supplies
Abdisalaan Aato delivering supplies


Aato & refugee, walked 22 km, 90 km more to Dadaab
Aato & refugee, walked 22 km, 90 km more to Dadaab

Fed up of watching -from the comfort of our living rooms- untold horrors unfold in the Horn of Africa, fed up of hearing plans made but not seeing much done, fed up of making excuses for ourselves -excuses like we were too young or too poor or too far away from the problem to make a difference- we, young people from Somalia, Kenya, America, Australia and the UK formed the Global Somali Response.

The purpose of the Global Somali Response is to identify the major gaps in the existing emergency responses so as to mobilize the Somali community in the diaspora to stand up and take ownership and responsibility for their people, to drive resources where they matter the most -en route to Dadaab rather than just in Dadaab itself- and to restore the dignity of the Somali people.

The road to Dadaab is paved with open graves saying ii kaalay… ii kaalay… (come to me… come to me…). There, we met people that were faced with the difficult choice of sitting and waiting for death, or getting up and walking towards it. We met families that had walked for 22 days straight and were willing to walk another 90km to Dadaab. We met mothers that had left their children on the roadsides to die alone, and fathers that had no more energy left to feel grief for their lost children. The most appalling thing was that no aid agencies were there in the routes to Dadaab to help these people.

We are putting together a series of appeal clips and documentaries to raise money and awareness on the plight of the refugees. We are also raising funds to fill Survival Backpacks with essential supplies; water, glucose, slippers, blankets and some dry food. These survival backpacks shall be distributed to refugees in transit from Somalia to Kenya. This is because most deaths occur during transit, not at the destination. Only six out of ten refugees make it to Dadaab refugee camp. The Survival Packs are meant to alleviate the suffering and decrease the number of deaths.

The Global Somali Response holds the values of initiative, quick response, and genuine care and concern. Our efforts are starting to bear fruits. All over the world, young people are taking the initiative. They are stepping in to save lives. Somalis are choosing to be responsible for their own people. Young people are offering their time, money and skills to the initiative. What is unique about us is that, thanks to volunteers, the raised funds go directly to the victims unlike some other agencies that have high administration costs. It is no wonder that the international media is taking notice.

People are listening and taking action. We identified Dhobley in Somalia as one of the gaps in the emergency response, and already, the international media as well as relief organizations are beginning to focus their attention on this area. We shall continue to identify other gaps in the emergency response and find ways of filling them. Please email us on to find out how YOU can help. Join our Facebook page Global Somali Emergency Response for more updates or follow us on twitter @dadaab_response.


Somali refugees waiting for assistance
Somali refugees waiting for assistance

Hot Sun Foundation and Global Somali  Emergency Response are delighted with the response to date from many many people around the world - 260 so far and climbing.  Thanks to all of you, we are over half way to our goal of $25,000. We want to keep you updated on what is going on and how we are using the funds.  Here are some questions supporters have asked us. 

Q: Are donations going into Survival Backpacks or is some for the documentation part of the project?
A: All donations go into the Survival Backpacks. The video documentation is funded by the filmmaker volunteers.  They are doing reports for blogs and developing a documentary to share the stories of the Somali refugees with all who are interested. So it's a synergy.

Q: How are logistics of Survival Backpacks funded, i.e purchasing, packing, transport and distribution?
A: Currently Hot Sun Foundation and its Somali filmmaker partners are absorbing the costs of personnel and infrastructure for purchase, packing, transport and distribution. We are able to do this because Hot Sun Foundation has existing infrastructure in Nairobi. To cover logistics and personnel costs of Survival Backpacks, we are basically doing it in addition to everything else we do.

Q: Are there any other overhead costs?
A: Yes, Global Giving has a set percentage of 15% for the work they do. Bank transfer and other fixed costs use another 3%.  The rest goes to buy Survival Backpacks.  The backpacks and contents cost $20 each. We are trying to get discounts from Nairobi suppliers.

Here is a comment from one of our supporters on facebook: "Thanks, that's what I appreciate as transparency! Will add my $25 when I get home on the weekend. Good luck with & many blessings for this project!"

Media update: On 28 July 2011, Ahmed Farah, a member of our team, was on The Stream on Al Jazeera English "Pocket Change for Somalia"


1. Subscribe, Share, retweet:
Follow Dadaab_Response on twitter  Dadaab: Get there or Die Trying
AfricaFocus Bulletin
Join us on Facebook at Global Somali Emergency Response

2. Email your suggestions, contacts, feedback to                                                                                                                                          We welcome in-kind donations for the Survival Backpacks and volunteers.

THANKS for all you do

Deeq handing out milk to Somali refugees
Deeq handing out milk to Somali refugees


Survival Backpacks team hand out water
Survival Backpacks team hand out water

1 August 2011  First day of Ramadan

Brief Update:

THANKS to all of our 285 supporters who joined our global network of support. Keep it going and growing!

New Partnerships Thanks to Deeq M. Afrika, we have a new partnership with Aspire2Lead in Canada. They recently wrote an article in Sway Magazine “The Face of Famine in Somalia”

News article in VOA (Voice of America): We are thankful that they talked about Dadaab and our work in “Youth group Fills Gap of Response For Somali Refugees”. You can read it at

Currently preparing for next trip to Dadaab Refugee Camp and Liboi, on the Kenyan border with Somalia.  We are seeking additional funds for transport and volunteers expenses.  We want to use all the Survival Backpacks donations to buy backpacks.  More donations means more backpacks.

Help us get the word out.  Follow us on twitter at Dadaab_Response, on Facebook at Global Somali Emergency Response and our blog at 

Share the Survival Backpacks video on  Dadaab: Get There or Die Trying (shown on alJazeera The Stream and on Dutch TV)

Thanks for all you do.



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Organization Information

Hot Sun Foundation

Location: Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Nathan Collett
Nairobi , Federal District Kenya

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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