Watch Anderson Cooper interview on Somaliland and the Abaarso School

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Our Goal

Girls' Empowerment 

To change the trajectory of Somali girls’ opportunities in support of Millennial Development Goals of gender equality and empowerment of women.

Our Progress

We believe that girls should dream big.  Abaarso girls have proven that with the right opportunity, they can compete with anyone in the world. They have learned to believe in themselves and to inspire other girls, as well as their male counterparts, to believe in them too.

Girls applications’ to Abaarso are now over 20 times greater than its first year in 2009 with girls accounting for roughly half of all incoming 7th graders each year.  Nearly 35 female alums are now studying outside Somaliland on scholarships, including Nadira Abdilahi, believed to be the 1st female born and raised in Somaliland/Somalia to ever get accepted to an Ivy League university. Just one year later, her success was followed by Fahima Ali’s acceptance to Columbia University.

What Students are Saying

“Abaarso has changed our perception, as boys, of the girls, but it also has changed the perception that girls have of themselves…. We need men and women working side-by-side together to create a better country for everyone.”

-Abdisamad Adan

Our Future Plans

In Fall 2017, former Abaarso students and administrators will open Barwaaqo University, a new women’s-only university, initially focused on a School of Education to train the next generation of Somali primary school teachers. Future expansions will then include a School of Business/Management, School of Information Technology, and potentially a Nursing or Engineering school, to provide Somali women with the core skills required to help build the country’s infrastructure and support their families.