Abaarso School


Abaarso School nurtures the academic, intellectual, and character development of promising Somali students so they can effectively and ethically advance their society. Over 100 Abaarso alumni have been accepted with full-need funding to top universities around the world, including most of the United States’ top liberal arts colleges and universities, plus global institutions such as ALU in Rwanda; APU Ritsumeikan in Japan; Ashoka University in India; BINUS in Indonesia; Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown and Northwestern in Qatar; Jacobs University in Germany; United States International University (USIU) in Kenya; and University of Stirling in Scotland. Some of our students transfer to other boarding schools around the world, including African Leadership Academy, many different U.S. secondary schools, and the United World Colleges.

Our teachers, who come from various countries in Africa, Europe, and North America, work for volunteer salaries, so the school operates on a budget of under $500,000 per year. Tuition is less than 1/10 of comparable international schools, allowing an Abaarso education to be available to a majority of Somali families. Nonetheless, Abaarso School is need-blind in its admission process and nearly half of the school’s students are on financial aid, including students from the local village and from the Hargeisa Orphanage. As part of their development, Abaarso students spend a considerable amount of time each week doing volunteer work in their school and community, running a primary school for eighty children from Abaarso village, and tutoring in the Hargeisa Orphanage (when the pandemic allows).

Abaarso students abroad have flourished, earning a combined 3.2 GPA at US universities, and over 90% of our alumni graduate from university within four years. Many of our alumni return to Somaliland directly after completing their studies and OPT, if returning from the U.S., and work in a range of fields and organisations, including as teachers at our schools! The Abaarso Network includes our secondary school, three primary schools (Kaabe), and the first-ever residential women’s university in Somaliland (Barwaaqo).

Abaarso was founded in 2009 by Jonathan Starr. The current Head of School is Chris Green. You can learn more about our curriculum and other details, plus download our most recent School Profile here.