Executive Director, United Women of East Africa Support Team
Sahra Abdi, a Somali refugee woman, who has consistently demonstrated unwavering dedication to addressing the physical, economic, mental, and social well-being of East African women and their families for over 18 years. Her commitment shines through her multifaceted work in health education, advocacy, and social services. As a co-founder of the United Women of East Africa Support Team (UWEAST), a nonprofit organization, she has remained resolute in her mission to enhance the overall health and well-being of San Diego’s East African women and families. Notably, UWEAST has played a pivotal role in significantly uplifting the community’s image, transforming it into a visible, vocal, and positive force, particularly within East African women and youth. Several or numerously actively engaged participants in UWEAST’s programs have subsequently transitioned into leaders within the organization. Sahra’s leadership has enabled UWEAST to establish trusted relationships with local, state, national, and international foundations that promote collaboration through as well as city, county, state, and federal funding opportunities.
Sahra’s leadership has facilitated UWEAST in cultivating trusted relationships with local, state, national, and international foundations, fostering collaborative efforts. Additionally, these relationships have opened avenues for city, county, state, and federal funding opportunities.
Throughout her career, Sahra has taken on diverse roles, all with the shared goal of improving the quality of life for East African refugees. She played a pivotal role in establishing the Hooyo Health Program, which was specifically designed for Somali and East African mothers and their families. Her contributions extend to the Girl Scouts San Diego, where her involvement has empowered young girls, imparting them with valuable life skills that foster success both in their formative years, and as they transition into adulthood.
Sahra’s influence is also palpable through her significant role in creating the San Diego Refugee Community Coalition. This coalition has brought together 13 ethnic-based organizations into a cohesive model that has made explicit contributions to diverse refugee populations within the Afghan, East African, Haitian, Karen/Burmese, Middle Eastern, Russian, and Ukrainian communities.
Sahra’s remarkable efforts have garnered well-deserved recognition. In 2006, she was honored with the California Peace Prize from the California Wellness Foundation, acknowledging her outstanding contributions. Further acclaim followed in 2012 when she was celebrated as a Cool Woman. Sahra’s achievements stand as a testament to her enduring commitment to achieving a positive and lasting impact on the community at large.
Sahra embodies diverse qualities, ranging from being a black, devout Muslim woman, visionary refugee, to a dynamic, and compassionate leader. Her inclusive approach, advocacy, and friendly demeanor further contribute to her impactful leadership. Likewise, her genuine, down-to-earth nature, transparency, and respectfulness enhance her ability to make a positive difference in the lives of the individuals and families she serves, and to establish numerous meaningful partnerships.