Established in 2011 by a group of dedicated volunteers, Horn of Africa People’s Aid Northern Ireland was formed in response to a clear demand for support for refugees, asylum seekers, individuals and families from HoA and beyond who are living in NI. Based in Botanic Avenue, close to Belfast city centre, HAPANI works from an ethos of social inclusion - empowering those who are socially, financially or physically vulnerable in order to promote individual well-being and harmonious communities.
With a focus on gender, social, and religious equality while providing effective, practical support to those in need, we aim to develop independent initiatives, raise awareness, challenge intolerance and expand resources for those who need it most. Our approach is based on open and honest communication, collaborating with individuals and organisations for the benefit of service users and their communities.
Refugees and asylum seekers from the HoA region and beyond experience a huge range of obstacles living in Northern Ireland - connecting with services, language barriers, poverty, accessing healthcare and education, and securing employment after being granted refugee status, to name a few. Our commitment is to connect, support and empower these individuals regardless of social background, gender, ethnicity or circumstance. We also offer direct support for HAPANI youth who would otherwise be deprived of the right to education, training and personal development.
Board of Trustees
Lori Gatsi Barnett (Trustee)
Lori Gatsi Barnett is a business owner, social entrepreneur and active advocate for equality. With a degree in Business Administration (BA), Management & Consulting, Sales & Development, Marketing (Chartered Institute of Marketing), and Public Relations & HR, Lori Gatsi is an experienced and professional humanitarian. She has previously worked for the American Red Cross and participated in numerous panel discussion, including one held in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Lori previously lived and studied in Pennsylvania, US. As an active member of HAPANI, Lori is regularly involved in the NI community, humanitarian community building projects and championing social diversity and equality.
Suleiman Abdulahi (Director)
HAPANI founder and director Suleiman Abdulahi is a passionate human rights and social justice advocate with a strong social entrepreneurial, IT and business background. Fluent in Arabic, Danish, English, and Somali, Suleiman was one of the first people involved in the development of multiple diaspora and civil society organisations. He was listed in the Ethnic Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009 and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland’s Level 1 Award in 2008.
Godd Hussein (Trustee)
Currently volunteering with HAPANI as an interpreter, homework coordinator and general support worker, Godd Hussein is an asylum seeker based in Belfast. Having previously lived and worked in the Republic of Ireland, he studied Financial Accounting at the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). Godd is currently an active member of the organisation, using his interpreting skills to bridge the language barrier for refugees and supporting HoA children from various backgrounds at our Homework Club. He has successfully attained a Level 2 certificate with Youth Link from OCN as a Youth Worker.
We are constantly working to provide our patrons with the best resources in order to educate, inform and increase awareness. If you are looking for the latest research, reports and scholarly researches – we can help!
The Horn of Africa Community in Belfast A Needs Assessment April 2012 Report
This research identifies and assesses the social and economic needs of individuals from the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan) currently living in Belfast.
HAPANI believes in empowering people with relevant resources and accurate information. We have an active database of important links and resources for your convenience.
The Institute for Conflict Research is an independent research organisation, based in Belfast, which specialises in working on issues related to conflict, human rights, social transformation and social justice. It is a not for profit company limited by guarantee with charitable status and is managed by a board of directors drawn from the community, voluntary and academic sectors. We also carry out research, evaluations and training, not just in Northern Ireland but also internationally.
Law Centre (NI) is a not for profit agency working to advance social welfare rights in Northern Ireland.
The Law Centre promotes social justice and provides specialist legal support to advice-giving organisations and disadvantaged individuals.
The Centre is a non-governmental development organisation based in Belfast which aims to raise awareness of global issues and encourage action toward social change.
Our Core Objectives
To develop independent initiatives that foster autonomy and participation among Horn of Africa individuals
To raise awareness within public services so they are able to respond flexibly to the needs of individuals from the Horn of Africa and beyond
To challenge intolerance towards individuals from African communities in Northern Ireland
To develop mutual support between Horn of Africa individuals, refugees, asylum seekers and their dependants, and members of the "host" community
To raise funds and resources for education and health-related projects in the Horn of Africa countries
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