Our Founder’s Message

Said Abiyow Somai Bantu Association of America

Said Abiyow’s Biography

The Somali Bantu Association of America organization was founded by Executive Director, Mr. Said Abiyow.  Before moving to the United States, Said Abiyow had a 10-year career in Africa with the International Organization for Immigration, a joint volunteer agency working to relocate refugees throughout the world. For nine of those 10 years, Abiyow was Case Manager/Resettlement Coordinator at a refugee camp in Kenya, and oversaw placement of Somali Bantu in the United States, often escorting refugees to their new communities in the United States. After immigrating himself, Said Abiyow became Director of the Somali Bantu Community of Dallas, Texas. During that period, he was involved in creating several other Somali aid organizations in the United States. In 2009, he resigned and moved to San Diego, where he used his experience to create the Somali Bantu Association of America.  Said Abiyow has also directed national projects for Solutions for Better Living.

Said Abiyow is currently a Culture Advisor/Site Manager with a government contractor called Glacier Technical Solutions, LLC / Workforce Resources, LLC.   “I now direct the cultural and language training for the United State Marines Corps all over Camp Pendleton prior to their deployment overseas. My job is to see that the Marines are immersed in the Somali culture and Somali languages and ensure they don’t find themselves in a severe stage of culture shock once they are in Somalia. The training also focuses on making sure they will return safely from their tours of duty.”

Said Abiyow focuses on educating the newly arrived disadvantaged refugees so they can access healthcare, professional and educational resources while making a smooth transition into the United States. Said Abiyow also serves Somali Bantu refugee’s families and their children so they stay away from peer pressure issues, drugs and violence.

Said Abiyow received his Bachelors of Arts in Public Relations, and a Certificate in Cognitive Physiology from the San Diego Urban League Pacific Institute in 2007 and Certificate of Excellence (SIFE)  from San Diego City College in 2008.  Said Abiyow also directed national projects for Solutions for Better Living.

“Given my experiences both personally and professionally, I know I can get the job done. I am especially invigorated by working closely with the youth because it’s the youth that can be harnessed into the community by being imaginative of a brighter future. It’s time to change our attitudes and how we view one another in order for us to accomplish greater goals. We have to take the initiative and prepare for a future that will be full of joy and pride.
I am grateful to the members of the community, who have put their trust in me to lead this great organization into a new direction. I believe, together, we have the opportunity to change and build a stronger community and organization. I am delighted to see how far the community has grown and prospered, but I am also aware that there is more work to be done. Making our economy work better for everyone is a difficult job at best. If we are ignorant about basic facts, the ways in which they are interrelated, and the effects of policies, it becomes an impossible job. An organization with a long track record of careful, sober, non-ideological, data-based research is a treasure. There are very few of them. It is my personal mission statement to assure that the Somali Bantu Association of America is one.” -Said Abiyow/CEO

SDIRC Interviews Said Abiyow at the 21th Annual Immigrant Day in Sacramento