The Abaarso School

Doing work that makes a difference

In 2013, the Abaarso School was launched against all odds in a remote location in Somaliland to prepare the future leaders of a state devastated by a brutal civil war.

Services Provided:
  • Digital
  • Design
  • Communicator
  • Davey
  • W3

Their rigorous agenda demands a full commitment centered around integrity, tenacity and reasoning to insure those who succeed are well prepared to face every challenge and advance their society. Graduates have gone on to study at Harvard, Yale, MIT and Brown, yet the school cannot subsist without substantial funding.

Reit was charged with creating a website that could serve as an international beacon to shine a spotlight on the school and stimulate investment. The site needed to convey the brilliance of its promise along with the depth of its need to move and motivate visitors to support its mission. Vibrant colors were chosen to convey optimism, highlighting personal stories as well as challenges and opportunities with bold, clear mechanisms to contribute.

The press took notice as evidenced by features in New York Times, 60 Minutes, BBC and CNN Money. Because brilliance knows no borders.

The history of the area

Somalia and Somaliland are located in the “Horn of Africa,” the easternmost peninsula in Northeast Africa.  In May 1991, after a brutal civil war, the Republic of Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia. Somaliland has made great strides, including establishing a stable government with peaceful elections.

Still, Somaliland remains unrecognized internationally, and the combined area of Somaliland and Somalia has been ranked as the 2nd most Fragile State in the world by The Fund for Peace for most of the past decade.


Spotlighting the school

Reit was tasked with designing a clear, positive website to express its mission. We focused on the students of the school, letting them and the environment speak for itself. With bold messaging and striking colors, we brought their story to life. 

The Abaarso website before its redesign had small images, wall-to-wall text, and little hierarchy in the content. A mostly black and white site, nothing was able to pop.
With Reit's full redesign, we were able blow out images, create points of focus in the page content, and keep the user more engaged.