Ayan Abukar

Executive Director
Action for East African People

Successful Collaborations with public, community, corporate, and private organizations

Non-Profit Agenices Established

Active Board Memberships


A leader in the east african community

Ayan Abukar is the founder of Action For East African People, which houses two healthcare centers in Minnesota: Action Care Community Clinic & Dental and Action Healing & Wellness. Abukar developed these centers to eliminate barriers to healthcare, employment, food, and housing in order to cultivate and enrich the East African community.

Ayan’s Story

Ayan Abukar is originally from Ethiopia. Due to civil unrest, she was forced to relocate to refugee camps in Kenya, Africa. Growing up in refugee camps taught her the importance of community. From when I was 13, I was working with the community. In the refugee camps the only resources we really had were each other. We grew up helping each other in order to survive,” says Abukar. She was also inspired by her aunt, who had learned to mobilize resources and open doors for refugees in Kenya. In 1998, Ayan was part of the first East African groups to immigrate to the United States and she continued her passion to help others with her work in Minnesota social service circles. Ayan understands the needs of immigrant families and became aware of the gaps present in the current system. She gained experience working with Minnesota resettlement programs, the Southeast Asian refugee community, and Hennepin County social services.

“In the refugee camps the only resources we really had were each other. We grew up helping each other in order to survive.”


In 2012, Ayan took over leadership of Safa Childcare and Learning Center in Minnesota. This daycare served local East African mothers who were low-income, single and needed childcare. Many of these mothers did not speak English and would ask Ayan for help in filling out applications to qualify for childcare, employment, food, medical and housing assistance. Some of the mothers needed Ayan to assist them in communicating with their bosses or creating resumes. Ayan mobilized volunteers to help assist her clients. A multitude of issues arose over time which made it clear to Ayan there was no central hub for the East African populace to gain help in navigating the system in the suburban areas.

Ayan Abukar founded Action for East African People (AFEAP) in response to the overwhelming needs of her daycare clients. Action for East African People is a non-profit focusing on eliminating barriers for African immigrants in the previously unserved suburban areas of Minnesota as they integrate into the local communities. AFEAP has since expanded into opening project operations in four countries: Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Republic of Somaliland with headquarters located in Kenya, Africa. Learn more about our international development.

As a part of AFEAP, Ayan went on to found Action Care Community Clinic & Dental (Bloomington, MN) as well as the Action Healing and Wellness Center (Burnsville, MN) to provide accessible healthcare services and beyond to the local immigrant and low-income communities. The foundation of these community hubs is based on holistically addressing the client with a personalized approach. There are navigators on-site to help clients apply for MNsure and interpreters are also available to eliminate any barriers to language in providing services. These centers serve as one-stop shops where clients can immediately address needs in every aspect of their life including healthcare, wellness, housing, food security, financial security such as building credit and government assistance. 

In 2017, Ayan Abukar was nominated by the U.S. African Chamber of Commerce (USACC) as the Contact Person for Somalia to advise on opportunities with the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is legislation that significantly enhances market access to the United States for qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries.

Ayan strongly promotes the formulation of community partnerships and creation of initiatives to address immigration, education, economic development, social entrepreneurship, business training, and access to alternative lending among local chambers.

Ayan has received a number of Fellowships, i.e. from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs (University of Minnesota) and the Cato Institute in Washington, DC. Ayan serves as a board member of the US African Chamber of Commerce, USA African Advisory Board and Advocacy Think Tank in Washington DC, the USACC Foundation, and the National Small Business Association Leadership Council. 

Ayan Abukar has worked for decades to help underserved communities in the Twin Cities. As a mother of five children, Ayan Abukar is especially passionate about empowering East African girls and women locally and globally. The East African woman carries many essential responsibilities but is often overlooked. Learn more about how Action for East African People is prioritizing their needs. 


Current Professional Titles

Action for East African People

Executive Director


United States African Chamber of Commerce Foundation



Action Care Community Clinic & Dental



Action Healing & Wellness Center
(Burnsville, MN)



Professional Leadership Expertise

Ayan Abukar is a highly respectable, seasoned, and accomplished executive with extensive years of experience.

Extensive Experience

Experience in educating and promoting various causes, particularly on immigrant issues, with active leadership in various philanthropic organizations, including non-profit organizations, foundations, educational institutions, advocacy organizations and professional trade organizations.


Has demonstrated adeptness in management and supervision over a broad scope of issues and concerns from health care to labor relations, international trade to capital markets, as well as energy and infrastructure. Powered with exceptional leadership, interpersonal, and motivational skills; able to meet target goals amidst complex challenges.


Passionate about all global collaboration, multicultural affairs, and collective partnerships to ensure continuity of human progress through economic, political, and social initiatives and systems based on individual freedom and equal opportunities.

Specialized Areas of Expertise

As a leader, Abukar is passionate about a variety of issues affecting East Africans, especially the needs of girls and women. She has expterise in the following areas to address concerns worldwide.

Intellectual Property

Strongly advocate for the importance of Intellectual Property worldwide in creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

Labor Relations

Provide support to and lobby for workers’ protection, fair workplace rules, effective workforce training programs, common sense immigration reform, and employer flexibility and reject harmful proposals and burdensome regulations that possibly generate litigation instead of jobs.

International Trade

Provide support to robust trade agenda that will create good jobs for American workers and a more efficient export of goods and services for US companies.

Capital Market

Support capital markets that are transparent, fair, efficient, and innovative in the world in efforts to advance America’s global leadership in capital formation.


Ensure that appropriate attention and proper investment are given to infrastructure systems to maintain the nation’s economic stability, potential for job growth, and global competitiveness as well as the nation’s growth and expansion in the fields of transportation, telecommunications, energy, and water works.


Promote pro-growth energy action to ensure businesses are up and running and the nation’s competitiveness is maintained by increasing diverse energy supplies, improving efficiency, and promoting environmental stewardship while putting Americans back to work.

Core Competencies

Leadership Development, Governing Structure of Non-Profit/International NGO, Board Development, Strategic Planning & Partnership Program Development, Fundraising, Education & Economic Development, Multi-cultural Education, Business Minority Purchasing Power, Multi-cultural Market Promotion, Corporate Minority Business Development, Multi-cultural Education & Cross-cultural Training, Niche Marketing & Target Consumer Population

Philanthropic + Business Development

Experienced in bringing together business, government, and philanthropic communities to spearhead collaborative projects, such as the National Research and Conference on the Latino and African Emerging Consumer Markets in the multicultural US market. Pioneered the development of the first-ever data collected in order to endorse the Emerging African market with about 55 billion African immigrant purchasing power from particular consumer segment recently. Successfully collaborated and consulted with more than 120 public, community, corporate, family and private foundations as well as non-government organizations. Closely worked with research, corporate, and minority agencies in dealing with timely and relevant market issues and opportunities, as well as in organizing and implementing various promotional conferences.

Non-Profit Development

Established various successful nonprofit agencies in the State of Minnesota, such as the Immigrant Cultural Center, Immigrant Women’s Economic Development, and the African Credit Counseling. Conceptualized and implemented various programs, including the Financial Counseling Education Program; Business Training Program to address the issue of alternative lending for immigrants who have no credit; and Micro Lending Program for immigrants with no prior banking sector usage. Created investment and loan funds through a number of capital ventures for innovation initiative from social entrepreneurs.


Ila soo xiriir haddii aad xiiseyneyso isku xirka ama wax badan ka barashada ururkeenna Action for East African People.