By Dhananji Rathnayake | Photos By Mark Mattos

Nurture All Afric Foundation, a new Maine-based, international nonprofit founded “to improve living conditions for communities throughout East Africa,” held its first conference, called “Renewing East Africa” at Southern Maine Community College. The keynote speech was delivered by Mahboub Maalim, former Secretary General of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and former chairman of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The intent of the conference was to promote awareness of the challenges many East Africans face, and to educate Mainers on how they can all be a part of renewing East Africa. 

The presenters included representatives from government, higher education, and the nonprofit sectors, as well as students. The student panel showcased young people from Maine universities who shared their firsthand experiences as refugees and immigrants from East Africa. They discussed their ongoing connections to their home countries and how Maine can provide support.  The conference concluded with a book presentation by author Abukar Arman, former Somalia Special Envoy to the U.S. and a political analyst. In Broken Camel Bells, Arman offers an analysis of how both the world and Somalis themselves have failed Somalia.

We, the Black and Brown people, have had some responsibility, and we continue to have responsibility, in whatever happened, and what continues to happen in Africa.”
– Abdullahi Ali, Founder and Executive Director of Nurture All Afric