In July 2017, a group of Somali college students and graduates from Boston met to discuss the educational barriers that they and their community faced. While Somali students attended local public high schools, they did not enroll in college at the same rate as their counterparts. The founders remembered feeling caught between two cultures and navigating social and academic challenges alone. The available community data presented a similar story.
The 2014-2018 American Community Survey of Somalis in Massachusetts reveals that 88% of individuals under 18 were born in the U.S. compared to less than 1% of those over 35 (1). This stark difference in experiences between Somali youth and their parents highlights the importance of peer mentorship. In addition, 18% of Somalis over 25 have a Bachelor’s degree (1), compared to the state average of 44% (2). Therefore, while Massachusetts and Boston are higher education hubs, Somali youth face real barriers in accessing these resources. Lastly, it is important to note that ethnic and racial minority populations are less likely to complete census surveys due to misconceptions about purpose and process, confidentiality concerns, and government distrust (3). These statistics may actually be an undercount of the Somali population and the scope of community needs.
Hormar Academy launched in October 2018 in collaboration with Northeastern University Somali Student Association and African Community Economic Development of New England. The pilot mentorship program connected high school students with college students and young professionals. Within two years, the program doubled in participation and it was clear that a separate organization was necessary to meet the need.
Hormar Inc. was founded in August 2020. As a nonprofit organization, we will build on the successes of Hormar Academy and expand services to reach more youth. Join us in progressing our community!
1. U.S. Census Bureau, 2014-2018 American Community Survey, Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), PI+ Massachusetts Regions, BPDA Research Division.
2. U.S. Census Bureau, QuickFacts, Massachusetts
3. U.S. Census Bureau, 2020 Census Barriers, Attitudes, and Motivators Study (CBAMS) Survey and Focus Groups Reports FactSheet
Hormar Inc. aims to foster an environment of social-emotional and spiritual well-being through a holistic mentorship approach. We seek to nurture a healthy community by providing academic support, extracurricular opportunities, and public forums. Ultimately, we aspire to create positive relationships that provide a space for sustainable self-empowerment for Somali youth.