Sajjad Versi - ERC and the Horn of Africa Relief and Development Agency

Sajjad Versi, President, Horn of Africa Relief and Development Agency

Horn of Africa Relief and Development Agency, commonly known as HARDA, has a long and successful association with the Edmund Rice Centre since 2003.

The Founder of HARDA is the Late Hassan Omar. Born in the Ogaden Area of Ethiopia into desperate poverty, he came to Australia as a student in the early 80s. After a few years in business, he decided to "give something back to his people.” So, with his wife’s support and the encouragement and backing of Phil Glendenning, the seeds were sown for the birth of HARDA. Phil, with the auspices of the Edmund Rice Centre, gave, on a pro bona basis, accommodation, facilities and capabilities to HARDA to bring it to the stage it is today- a facilitator in the resettlement of refugees and humanitarian entrants from the Horn of Africa, not only to assist them in their settlement but also to help them "give something back to their people.” Unfortunately, Hassan Omar passed away far too young but his spirit lives on.

To put it bluntly, HARDA could not exist without the help of Edmund Rice Centre. ERC has supported HARDA from the early days in 2003 till today without ever asking for funds or favours. The support and trust of the Centre has never wavered over the years. The office accommodation, use of office equipment and supplies, access to the internet and telecommunication; and support in the areas of advocacy and guiding HARDA through the government bureaucracy, are examples of invaluable support provided.

HARDA identifies itself with the goals and aspirations of the ERC and we hope that we are meeting your expectation.

Thank you to the founders, management and staff of the Edmund Rice Centre for your invaluable assistance.

On behalf of all the volunteers of HARDA who over the years have appreciated coming to the Centre, I congratulate the organisation of the Edmund Rice Centre on the celebration of its 21st birthday and wish it continued success for the future.

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