SAA History

The Somali Association of Arizona has been established back on 1992 due to the need for the representation of the Somali Refugees flow from East African Refugee Camps which was caused by the vicious, long lasted Civil war of Somalia.

The Somali Association of Arizona was the first Association that was established to provide Social Services for the Somali Refugee Members of Arizona and it has been granted the 501c3 Non-profit organization status Shorty after its first year of activities.

On 2002, The SAA has been Awarded the ORR Federal Grant to provide multiple Social Services for the general Refugee Members of Arizona and in particular, the Somali Refugee Members of Arizona in which they have successfully completed three years of programs, services and other activities that have positively contributed to the development and welfare being of the Somali Community Members of Arizona in all its sectors. The SAA was able to provide parenting and Life Skills Classes, Vocational Training Classes, Youth Leadership Classes, Case Management, Employment Services, Adult ESL classes, After School Tutoring classes for all grade students, Health awareness and Community outreach services…etc.

Based on these services, it has been recorded and documented that the Somali Refugee Community has tremendously benefited from the availability of such services and programs conducted by individual experts from the same community members with the same linguistic and cultural background in which they have made a tangible progress and a positive integration into our main stream society which is currently reflecting in their current personal and professional daily lives.

However, due to the recent budget cuts and the continual flow of the Somali Refugees to the state of Arizona, totaling 15,000 plus, many of the Mutual Assistance Associations such as the SAA are very limited in continuing to conduct those costly services and programs without the financial assistance of federal grants and/or state and private donors and would be at risk to sustain if no funds would become available for them to continue such necessary needed social services.

Based on a wide range survey and collected information from the newly arrived and continue to arrive Somali Refugee Members, there seems to still be a great need of all types of social services that should be administered by the Community Based Associations such as ours because they can relate much better in terms of language, culture, ethnicity and common grounds to effectively serve those needy refugee members to reach their potentials and become self sufficient. Some of the immediate services would be: Adult Education Classes, ESL, after school tutoring programs for their newly arrived children who are experiencing difficulties trying to catch up with other students due to language barrier, Advocacy and case management with other offices such as the DES, Medical Offices, Schools, Land Lords, Immigration services and so on, Employment Services, Community Development Programs…etc.