Aug 09, 2010

Somaliland: A New Somaliland Based NGO to Aid the Mentally Ill.

As a result of the death of Ali Marshall a locally well respected humanitarian an Ngo has been established to care for the mentally unstable.



Below is an article published by the Somaliland Press:


A local Somaliland humanitarian organization has been launched in the capital Hargeisa. The organization has been founded to honor and continue the legacy of the late Somaliland political and public figure, Ali Mohamed Gulaid (Ali Marshall.)

Ali Marshall Trust is independent nonprofit organization that aims to provide medical and financial support to mental health clinics in Somaliland. The organization aspires to increase awareness of different types mental illness in the country and educated people about social stigma and misconception that surround mental illness.

Ali Mohamed Gulaid, alias Ali Marshal, died in a car accident near Berbera, Somaliland, on Thursday 6th of August 2009. This tragedy was keenly felt by the people of Somaliland and was mourned as such all over the world. Ali Marshal was a passionate advocate for Somaliland, committed to its political, social and economic development. He employed his financial skills, expertise and the breadth of knowledge, not only to fight the mismanagement and misrule prevalent in the Somaliland of his day, but to also delineate a course of action to overcome them. His analysis and commentary on national budgets were uniquely informative and inspirational.

An official launching and fundraising ceremony was held in Al-Mansoor in Hargeisa. Representatives of the elected government, civic leaders and well-known religious leaders and literary figures attended the opening ceremony. Attendees included the widow of Ali Gulaid and the founder of Ali Marshall Trust, Yasmin Sekali, the first lady of the Country, Madam Marwo Amina waris, the new chairman of Kulmiye Party, Mr. Muse Biixi Abdi, the Minister of Education, Madam Samsam Abdi Adan, Minister of Ports and Fishing Indudray Dr. Mohamed Yasin Hassan, Somalialnd previous Minster of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Edna Adan Ismail, and other dignitaries and local business leaders.

The event raised $24,170 from the attendees to fund Ali Marshall Trust projects in establishing aids and medical support for mental health care in Somaliland.

Yasmin Sekali, the founder of Ali Marshall Trust and the widow of the late Ali Gulaid spoke during the event, she told the story of how this Trust Fund came to existence.

The idea behind this fund started well before Ali Gulaid (RIP) passed away. It is something I cared about for a long time. Ali cared for the vulnerable and poor in our country. I remember one day we were walking in Hargeisa, and we saw children harassing and throwing stones at mentally unstable elder. Ali was disturbed by what he saw. He intervened and help out the man. Ali was very compassionate person. Since that incident I decided to start a an organization to help the vulnerable and weak, especially the mentally ill people.

Madam Yasmine Sekali highlighted that the mental illness care is almost non-existence in the country, and people who suffer from mental illness are either left alone to battle their illness or put away in what is known as “prisons for crazy people.”

Yasmin talked about the social stigma that surrounds mental illness in the country. She pointed out that Ali Marshall Trust will help to increase awareness of mental health issues by engaging in media campaigns and to educating the people about mental health.

Dr. Edna Adan Ismail spoke during the event; she drew attention to the importance of mental health care in the country. She underlined how Qat (Khat) consumption is the biggest factor in causing mental illness in Somaliland. She encouraged the new government to increase taxes on Qat to fund health care programs to treat illness that results from Qat consumption.

Qat is a mild stimulus plants that is widely consumed in East Africa in general. The plants cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria. in 1980 the world health organization classified Qat as a drug of abuse that can produce mild to moderate psychological dependence.

Hargeisa religious figure, Sheikh Adan Haji Mohamoud (Siiro) spoke at the event. He talked about the wide spread of mental illness in the country. He stated that, 'one out three household, there are at least there is one mentally sick person. And our people don’t know how to treat these illnesses. They have misconception about them. There are fake clinics where they shackle sick people in chains isolated from the community. I encourage the government to close down these fake clinics. They only pretend to help them, but they are adding to their problems.'

The chairperson of ruling Party Kulmiye, Mr. Muuse Abdi Biixi talked about Ali Gulaid and the contribution he made in the country. He also highlighted importance of creating organizations like to this to care. Mr. Biixi also pointed out in his speech that unemployment and wide spread of Qat consumption among men have caused increase in mental illness in the country.

The new Minister of Ports and Fishing Industry, Dr. Mohamed Yasin Hasan commended the efforts made by the organizers and made promises to work with Ali Marshall Trust in providing logistic support and funds from the government. The Minister promised to provide land for the organization to operator from and to exempt taxes any work related to humanitarian projects like these.

Other local dignitaries attended the event including poet Hasan haji Abdilahi (Hasan Ganay), Poet Abdirasaq haji Hussein, Sheikh Ahmed Dayib Xasan Xaaji and representatives from the new government and local business leaders.

The event raised about $24,170. The first Lady of Somaliland, Madam Amina Waris made personal donation of $2,000. Businessman Mohamed Aw Saeed also donated $2,000. The minister of Ports and Fishing industry donated $2000. Minister of Education made donation of 1,500. Sheikh Adan Haji Siiro made$1000 donation. Also the president of Somaliland parliament, Abdoulziz Mohamed Samaale donated $1000.