St. Cloud Area Somali Salvation Organization (SASSO) was co-founded in October 2001 by a Somali man, Mohamoud Mohamed, and an American woman, Geneva Cole. The organization had originated as an informal network of volunteers who began assisting the rapidly growing Somali refugee population with their everyday needs in early 2001. SASSO’s first efforts to bridge the misunderstandings between the Somali and greater St. Cloud communities began even before the official incorporation of the organization. Immediately following September 11th, 2001, rumors spread in St. Cloud that Somali workers at a local factory had been seen cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center. Mohamoud and Geneva organized a rally and March of the Somali community to show support for the United States in late September. SASSO was officially incorporated October 15th, 2001.
For the last six and a half years, SASSO has assisted the Somali community to meet its needs and become established in St. Cloud, and has served the larger community as a resource for information and understanding. SASSO was the first Somali community organization formed in Central Minnesota. We continue to serve the Somali refugee community, but now also work with refugees and immigrants from many countries.