K’Naan uses Facebook campaign to help Olympic athletes from his war-torn homeland

By Hilary Gridley

For some Olympians, just showing up to the games can be a victory. Those who live in the world’s smallest, war-torn countries have encountered numerous obstacles just finding their way to the London games. In these cases, it helps to have a famous musician championing the athletes’ struggle.

Hip-hop artist K’Naan saw in the Olympics a chance to help his native Somalia. The runners on the Somali Olympic team have faced enormous obstacles in their quest for gold, a struggle representative of Somalians trying to feed their family in a country torn apart by decades of civil war.

The runners, Zamzam Mohamed Farah and her teammate Mohamed Hassan Mohamed, have braved death threats and overcome an almost complete lack of funding or training to give Somalia a place in London. Now K’Naan is teaming with the American Refugee Committee to make sure they get the support they need with a new Facebook campaign called I AM A STAR.

The I AM A STAR Facebook page serves as an online community for fans to cheer on the Somali Olympic team. For every “like,” post, and share the page receives, volunteers will add a “ring of hope” to a paper chain in Minnesota, home of North America’s largest Somali community. When the paper chain is 50,000 links long, the American Refugee Committee will receive a $50,000 check for aid relief in Somalia.

K’Naan is no stranger to global sport competitions–in 2010, his single “Wavin’ Flag” shot to fame after Coca-Cola named it their theme song for the FIFA World Cup™. The song’s message of hope and solidarity inspired athletes and activists around the world as it reached #1 in 18 countries.

“In Somalia, I saw people suffering insecurity …famine…. all these destructive elements,” notes K’Naan. “But right alongside that, what I saw was the will, the determination, the empathy, and the compassion of the Somali people. Let’s all be in solidarity with Somalia.”

Visit I AM A STAR to give $1 of relief for Somalia.


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