I AM A STAR: A global grassroots movement

Alight's I AM A STAR campaign transformed humanitarian relief by engaging the Somali diaspora to improve 170,000 lives through clean water, sanitation, and healthcare, raising over $70 million.

Inspired by the flag of Somalia – the white Star of Unity centered in a field of blue – the I AM A STAR campaign transformed humanitarian relief efforts. I AM A STAR harnessed the power of the Somali diaspora community to enhance the lives of 170,000 people in Somalia by providing clean water, sanitation, and healthcare.  

Through I AM A STAR, Alight mobilized the diaspora community to co-design and co-implement the relief program in Somalia. Hundreds of diaspora members formed a network that facilitated access and ensured smooth implementation of the program. Twelve volunteers from the diaspora provided hands-on assistance in Mogadishu, aiding in rapid response efforts at the Mogadishu Maternal and Child Hospital, creating safe spaces for siblings of sick children, and developing nutritional feeding programs across the city. Additionally, the campaign galvanized tens of thousands of online advocates to raise funds and build a supportive community for Somalia.

Even before operations started in Mogadishu, thousands of community members lent their voices and support, contributing to a grassroots fundraising surge that allowed us to address the severe famine in Somalia when others could not. Notably, a group of students in the Twin Cities raised $8,000 through a car wash, which helped launch what has become our largest country program in Somalia, raising over $70 million since its inception.

I AM A STAR highlighted the remarkable strength, resourcefulness, and generosity of the Somali people, generating more than 750 positive stories in US and international media. Celebrities like K’NAAN, Bono, Somali fashion designers Mataano, TV’s Chef Roble, and Sweet Rush joined the effort, amplifying the message. People from more than 60 countries, including Mexico, Malaysia, Austria, and Australia, took action for Somalia.

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Recovering from 20 years of war and unrest in Somalia requires time and sustained effort. Continued creative action is essential for Somalia's recovery and rebuilding. The legacy of I AM A STAR endures through ongoing collaborations with the Somali business community, religious leaders, and citizens dedicated to the country's future. Together, we strive to protect the health and well-being of vulnerable Somalis, rebuild the economy, and create livelihoods that will enable the nation to thrive once again.


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