Giving children an opportunity

Senior Faiz Aye donates to schools in Somalia

Students+in+Somalia+receive+school+supplies+purchased+through+GoFundMe+donations.

Amoud Foundation

Students in Somalia receive school supplies purchased through GoFundMe donations.

By Emily Harrison, Lewisville High School - TX

On the first day of school, children glance around the run-down building and see nothing but broken windows and wobbly desks. The young Somali students take their seats in unsturdy chairs as class begins. With a lack of supplies, they try their hardest to make the best with what is provided. 

Senior Faiz Aye created a GoFundMe to raise money to provide school supplies for kids in Somalia. Raising $850 of his $1,000 goal, Faiz donated the money in early October. His inspiration originated from his father and uncle, who started a foundation named the Amoud Foundation in 1998 to help improve the poverty issue in Somalia, where his family is from.  

“My overall goal is for 70 to 100 students to have the school supplies they need,” Faiz said. “There is a lot you can do with $850 in Somalia. Schools in Somalia were devastatingly affected by war, and this impacted a large number of families. Because of this, I want to be able to provide for them so they don’t have to hustle for [their own supplies] and [they] can focus on learning.”

Faiz lived in Somalia for a year and a half and experienced the horrific conditions the people faced. Having experienced this, Faiz felt like he had an obligation to help his people. 

“It was [a wake-up call] for me because I could have been the one in need of help,” Faiz said. “I used my platform and connections to spread the fundraiser. The Amoud Foundation is a non-profit organization, which my dad and uncle run. The foundation is already working on a project called ‘Back to School Project.’ My GoFundMe is an addition to the project.”

Faiz’s dad, Abdi Aye, was a significant influential figure for him. Learning leadership and the importance of giving back, Faiz remembered his father’s lessons and maintained a drive to lead with a passion and a positive influence.

“My uncle and father understood the [privilege] they had, they just had to use it correctly,” Faiz said. “My dad always told me if you ever have the opportunity to come to America, use it to your advantage. That’s something that stuck in my head. I understood the unfortunate circumstances they are going through. I recognized the opportunity I had to raise awareness. I always knew I was different.” 

He grew up seeing Abdi and his uncle, Egal Mohammed, undertake big projects within the Amoud Foundation. As he got older, he was able to volunteer and become more involved. Faiz’s dad was immensely proud of him for stepping up and creating his own way to help.

“Faiz is a member of our volunteer pool that works with the Amoud Foundation,” Abdi said. “He provides valuable contributions and ideas to the organization to achieve its goals. Faiz’s idea and effort [with his fundraiser] has become fruitful in providing support to these needy students.” 

Mohammed envisions the growth of the Amoud Foundation and hopes Faiz will one day take over the organization. He has faith the Amoud Foundation will continue to be present hundreds of years into the future.

“Anytime we need help distributing something, Faiz helps,”  Mohammad said. “We are trying to teach him to give back. If he gets used to it by seeing [me] and his father do it, it would be nice for him to continue to contribute when he grows up. I want to attract the youth because I don’t know how long I am going to be here. We want to make sure the next generation keeps this organization sustainable in the future.” 

Faiz plans to go back to Somalia to track the growth within the schools he donated to. Although he wasn’t born in Somalia, an abundance of his culture and family resides there. He considers Somalia a second home he wants to innovate into a developed country through continuing to help the people fight poverty. 

“My goal is to go to Somalia in December to check out the schools,” Faiz said. “I [specifically] want to go to the middle schools where I am from and talk to [the students] to see how they are doing and how school is going with their new supplies. I want to go back and show support because it’s my home country.”

His passion for service continues to grow. When he sees an opportunity to help, he takes it. If there is still change to be made in Somalia, Faiz will be there making sure it happens.

“Even at a young age, I always thought I could have a voice,” Faiz said. “If you are going to make a difference, go make it now.”

This story was originally published on Farmers’ Harvest on October 28, 2020.