FAQ

Where will my money go and how will it get there?
Sister Somalia is a project of Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, an registered non-profit in Canada and Somalia, which operates in Mogadishu. After being processed by PayPal, your donation is deposited directly into Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre’s bank account and is earmarked specifically for Sister Somalia’s direct services to sexual violence survivors. PayPal retains 2.9% + $ .30 fee of each donation.

Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre (EPHRC) operates according to international standards of accounting and reporting and is thoroughly vetted and monitored by its international partners such as the U.N.

Is my donation tax deductible?
Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre (EPHRC) is registered non-profit in Canada and Somalia. Donations by Canadian taxpayers should be tax deductible as provided by Canadian law. Donations from U.S. citizens and other countries are not tax deductible at this time.

Why are U.S. donor donations no longer tax deductible?
Donations to Sister Somalia had been tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers when they were made through Prism Partnerships, which was a U.S. non-profit entity. Because we are transitioning to full ownership of the program to Elman, a Canadian non-profit, it will take considerable time to apply for our own 501(c)3. Obviously, we hope that does not deter you from helping us provide these critically needed services to our Somali sisters

Can I send a letter?
Please do! Your letters add a personal touch of hope and encouragement, and mean the world, to the sister receiving them, but we don’t always have enough for every sister. No donation is necessary, just write a loving, encouraging note, share a bit about yourself and your family. Seeing your face makes a powerful emotional impact on the woman or girl receiving your letter, so please include a photo if at all possible.

Special Note on religious references in letters: If you are religious, it is important to keep any spiritual or religious comments generic. Please refrain from all Christian references since Somalia is a Muslim country and the mere mention of Jesus in letters has led to accusations in the past by extremists that Sister Somalia is attempting to convert our Muslim sisters to Christianity, poses a security risk to those participating in the program.

Mail Your Letter to: Sister Somalia, PO Box 28427, Portland OR 97228, USA

Will I be matched with a Somali sister?
No, Sister Somalia does not match you long term to a sister for “sponsorship” or correspondence, other than by giving her your letter.

Your contribution will be used to provide a variety of services that are not otherwise funded to Somali women affected by sexual violence, including food, counseling, transportation, medical services and business starter kits. You can, however.

Is Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, or Sister Somalia, a faith-based organization?
No, neither Elman and Sister Somalia have any religious affiliation.

Why Somali Women?
Somalia was recently ranked as one of the five worst places in the world for women. The country was been in a state of civil war and without an effective central government from 1991 until August 2012, when a new government was elected. Until the 2011 famine, a Transitional Federal Government (TFG) controlled only a small section of the capitol; the majority of central and southern Somalia was controlled by al Shabaab, a radical Islamic group intent on implementing an extreme version of Shari’a law. The famine further destabilized the country, forcing many women and children to relocate Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in and around Mogadishu. Over the past year, al Shabaab has been forced out of dominance in many areas and the famine crisis lessened. Nonetheless, women remain in the camps in extremely high numbers and they continue to be targets of brutal gender based violence.

Somali women face several forms of gender-based violence: forced and very early marriage; “temporary marriages” to al Shabaab; almost universal female genital mutilation; rape and other forms of sexual violence; as well as human and sex trafficking. Young girls, unaccompanied women, and displaced women are particularly vulnerable. Acts of sexual violence usually go unpunished, and survivors face high levels of stigma. If a woman does speak out, she risks being accused of promiscuity or adultery (which al Shabaab punished by beheading or stoning), ostracized, or even of being charged with a crime herself.

At the founding of Sister Somalia, there were NO resources for women who had suffered sexual attack or abuse.

Learn more at Press