Students raise money, awareness for Horn of Africa


Photo: Emily Harmon/Iowa State Daily

Horn of Africa: Hope Music & Arts Festival featured a skit, “Saneipei’s Journey,” commenting on international student’s time of adjustment after spending time studying abroad and returning home. Horn of Africa brought together art and musical acts to raise money for Somalia.  

Katelynn Mccollough

Members of UNICEF @ ISU, the African Student Association and the International Student Council held the event “Horn of Africa: Hope, Music and Arts Festival” at the Memorial Union on Saturday.

The three-hour event raised money and awareness for the 13 million Africans in the Horn of Africa who are suffering from famine, war and drought.

“We took the initiative of ‘lets do something about it,'” said Nidhi Shah, graduate student in nutritional sciences and co-founder of UNICEF @ ISU with alumna Haema Nilakanta. “We were trying to find ways that we could contribute while getting an education.”

The event was held at the Great Hall and featured volunteer performances of everything from poetry, a skit, musical performances and dances.

This was the first time that these three organizations collaborated to create such an event on campus. Approximately 160 students, professors and community members attended the festival, each donating $5 at the door in support of the Horn of Africa.

“It feels awesome that people are willing to contribute, that they are willing to participate,” Shah said, who said she is hoping the event will also encourage more students to become members of UNICEF @ ISU, a humanitarian program that advocates, fundraises and educates on world issues.

Shah also said she hopes for more collaboration with other organizations at Iowa State in the future to make the event and awareness more widespread. She worked with Massah Massaquoi, senior in psychology and public relations for the ASA, and Scott Byrd, senior in history and philosophy, Humanitarian and Awareness director of ISC and president of UNICEF @ ISU, to create this year’s program.

“We thought a music and arts festival was a great way to get people here and having fun,” Byrd said. “Every year we’re going to do this for whichever are of the world that needs it.”

Khalid Taha, sophomore in industrial technology, attended the program with friends. When asked how he felt about the event he said, “‘Awesome.’ Just put that in big, bold letters.” Taha also said that he hopes to attend the event again in the future.

The festival raised over $1,600 dollars. This amount was possible thanks to the George Harrison Fund, which matched each dollar donated.

Byrd and Shah were excited about the turnout and money raised, but both still hoped that education was the key factor of the night.

“More than money, it’s about awareness,” Byrd said.

All money raised will be given to Somalia Aid via UNICEF @ ISU.