Somalia

Somalis moved to Seattle in two waves -- one in the 1970s and the second after 1991. Somalia's prime minister stopped in Seattle to ask for their help.
Flickr Photo/City of Seattle Tech

We need your help.

That’s the message from Somalia’s former prime minister as he tours the U.S. to meet with Somali diaspora communities. There are about 100,000 Somalis in the U.S., most of them in Minnesota, Ohio and Seattle.

Omar Abdulalim and Shuad Farole send money every month to Farole's aunt in Somalia. She uses the money to pay for food, housing and school fees for 12 children.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

It just got tougher for Somali-American immigrants in Seattle send money to family back home. KUOW’s Liz Jones reports.

Omar Abdulalim and Shuad Farole send money every month to Farole's aunt in Somalia. She uses the money to pay for food, housing and school fees for 12 children.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Seattle's Somali-American community and elected officials came together Tuesday night to discuss a worsening problem: There is no longer a reliable way for people here to send money to families in Somalia.

Since February, all banks in the U.S. have stopped offering these remittance services to Somalia.

The Seattle area is home to the third largest Somali community in the country, so the abrupt change is acutely felt here.

Ugaaso Abukar Boocow has become an Instagram sensation by sending out stunning visual messages from an unlikely place: poor, suffering Somalia.

She was just a toddler when her grandmother fled with her to Canada to escape Somalia's civil war, leaving her mother behind.

Then last year, she decided to go back, moving to the capital, Mogadishu, and reuniting with her mother, whom she hadn't seen in over two decades.