Members of Samasons Relief organised a visit to Henley on Thames, a town in Oxfordshire near London. The purpose of the visit was to re-kindle historic relationships and ties which existed for a long time between Henley and Borama – a city in the Awdal region of Somaliland.
The visitors led by Yousuf Jama and Diriye Dahir representing Samasons Relief also included a delegation from Borama.
The visitors were warmly greeted at the town hall by Deputy Mayor Martin Akehurst and members of the Henley Boroma Friendship Association, which was established 31 years ago. They discussed the role of women in Somali society and the work of charity Samasons Relief, which helped revive the link after it was almost broken by communication problems.
Councillor Akehurst said: “The ties have been up and down over the years but it’s something that we should promote in Henley because these people need our help with some of the basic stuff we take for granted. Hopefully, this meeting has strengthened those ties and we can make people in Henley more aware of Borama and find areas where we can help them.”
Malcolm Page, who founded and chairs the association, is to begin fund-raising to equip a fire brigade in Borama after the city was donated two fire engines. The visitors included Rahma Mohamed Sultan, wife of the vice-president of Somaliland. They were in Britain to mark the foundation Somaliland 20 years ago. Mrs Sultan expressed her delight to be in Henley and added: “I would very much like the relationship to continue and prosper.” The group also included Amal Haji Mizan, the senior consultant to the Somaliland president for women’s affairs. Both Mrs Sultan and Mrs Mizan hail from Borama.
Mrs Sultan said “I remember very well when the friendship between Borama and Henley started and I very much regret that the contact between the two towns has declined in the last years. In Borama, everyone knows about Henley and it is an honour for us to visit the town. “To the Henley community we seek a new way forward based on mutual interest and consideration of the friendship association. The Henley and Borama communities should teach their children the importance of friendship. We would very much like a delegation from Henley to visit Borama one day. That would be an honour for us and would make the people of Borama very proud.”
Mrs Mizan thanked Mr Page for his efforts to maintain the link.
Samasons Relief intends to maintain and strength the links between Henley and Borama by opening new channels of communication between the two communities and organising future events for cooperation and friendship.