On Friday the 20th of June 2014, the Ogaden Youth and Student Union opened its second day of their 4th annual North America Conference. The focus was to highlight the educational and humanitarian needs of the orphaned refuge children from the Ogaden region currently residing in the Dadaab Refugee Camps in North Eastern Kenya. Hibaq Abdullahi Dualeh and Abdifatah Mahamoud Karie, the lead organizers of the conference in partnership with renowned humanitarian organizations in Minnesota, presented a documentary highlighting the dire needs of students in the Hirsi Mahad Integrated Academy established in 2009 in the Ifo and Hagardheer regions of the Dadaab Refugee camp. The purpose of the school was to provide quality education to orphaned children who lack the opportunity for education. The creators of the school believed that every child has a fundamental right to an education despite their circumstances.
Hibaq and Abdifatah presented solutions to organizational challenges as well as potential projects concerning the “Build a School Educate a Child” initiative. In the coming days OYSU members will further discuss how to move forward with the initiative and adopt new strategic goals.
Furthermore, Advocates for Human Rights brought forth a workshop and presentation on the role of diaspora youth in raising international awareness and advocacy and bringing attention the plight of the oppressed peoples of the Ogaden region. Amy Bergquist, a renowned human rights activist in the state of Minnesota spoke about the dire human rights crisis facing the many regions in Ethiopia and highlighted the worsening gross human rights violations currently taking place in the Ogaden. The main objective of the seminar was to educate the members of OYSU on effective advocacy methods on an international scale.
All in all, the second day of the OYSU North America conference was a success and very much beneficial to all members and participants of the conference. We look forward to working with human rights and humanitarian organizations in the future. Also, we look forward to what OYSU has in store for the third day of the conference. Stay Tuned!