Well worth it

A Marshall area group raised about $17,000 in a short period of time and recently received confirmation that its efforts were rewarded. Group members received photos showing how their donated money was spent.

Submitted photos Somali women and children gather by one of the wells built with money raised in the Marshall area.


Sometimes people who donate to charities or foundations might wonder where their money goes — am I really helping someone?

Area members of a new group have been given photos of a concrete result of their efforts.

Last summer, a group of Marshall area residents who have ties to the area Somali community worked together to raise awareness and funds. They called themselves Marshall Area Global Relief.

The group raised about $17,000, said MAGR leader Connie Knott.

“It was in such a short window of time, from around May and we were done by July,” she said. “People were affected by the reports of people and livestock suffering from the drought. There is a whole community of Somali people here in Marshall and there was an urgency to take part.”

Marshall residents who are Somali were members in the group. Videos were produced and uploaded to MAGR’s Facebook page which told their immigration story and how they try to help their relatives and friends back in Somalia.

Some of the MAGR members reached out to church and community organizations and received donations. Individuals also contributed.

The group decided to focus on providing wells to the water-starved country.

“We understand water here in southwest Minnesota,” said Knott, who lives in Walnut Grove and works in Marshall.

MAGR connected with a nonprofit agency that makes regular visits to Somalia called ARAHA (American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa), which operates out of the Twin Cities.

Yura Fora of ARAHA recently emailed Knott that the “water wells funded by the Marshall community have been completed.”

Fora told her “wells were constructed in four villages in the middle and Lower Shabelle regions of Somalia: Bulo Tiinka, Mukayga, Sigaale and Xawo. The wells will benefit approximately 4,500 people plus their livestock.”

ARAHA works in the Horn of Africa region to deliver essentials for living and develop self-sustaining opportunities, according to its website, araha.org.

Fora told Knott that a full report on how MAGR’s money was spent will be provided by ARAHA soon.

Knott was tickled that the city of Marshall is on signs in villages in the continent of Africa. The signs say “water wells constructed by ARAHA. Funded by: (MAGR) Marshall Area Global Relief.”

More information can be found at araha.org and by searching for Marshall Area Global Relief on Facebook.