for Churches – Somali Adult Literacy Training (SALT)

English language learning for Somalis and friendship building in the context of ESL tutoring



Somali Adult Literacy Training (SALT) seeks to address the crippling condition of illiteracy among Somalis in the Twin Cities. As a result of civil war, most Somalis living in the Twin Cities lost their homes, their country, and many family members. On top of that, the Somali culture as a whole slid toward a preliterate state. In 1995, UNICEF estimated that 36% of Somali men and 14% of Somali women could read.

Did you know that between 60,000 to 70,000 Somalis live in the Twin Cities?

current program activities:

SALT holds English language learning classes throughout the Twin Cities. That’s done through volunteers, like you. At most SALT sites, volunteer tutors work one-on-one with Somali students after lead teachers finish classroom instruction.  At the McKnight Rd. site volunteers provide literacy tutoring to adults and homework for children in the homes of Somali families.

Currently, SALT classes are held at these 7 sites:

  • Bethlehem Baptist Church (DT Minneapolis)                            M,T,W,Th  9 a.m.-12 noon
  • City of Refuge — Seward Church (S Minneapolis)                 M, T 6-8 p.m.
  • Concordia University (St. Paul)                                             T,W,Th  6-8 p.m.
  • Parkview Apartments (N Minneapolis)                                  T,W,Th  10-11:30 a.m.                              
  • Chancellor Manor Apartments (Burnsville)                             M, W  6-8 p.m.
  • McKnight Rd. site (E St. Paul)                                               M,T,W  6-8 p.m.
  • Hopkins, MN (proposed new site)

If you want more information about a particular site,

email Mike at  He will put you in touch with the site coordinator.

SALT has recently expanded out-of-state. Currently, we have SALT sites in Seattle, Washington and Kansas City, Missouri. If you are interested in connecting with the leadership of these sites, please contact Mike at

SALT’s ESL workbook can be purchased through World Relief Minnesota

Seven years in development, the newly revised Somali-English ABC Book is now available. This book is designed for Somali adults who may have never gone to school, who are learning the alphabet, and reading for the first time in their lives. Somali parents are also using the book to teach their children Somali language and culture. In turn, Somali children can help their parents with English.

Each lesson starts in Somali (with translations for the English-speaking tutor’s benefit), then bridges to English. This approach works because Somali and English share essentially the same alphabet. Each page has pictures to aid comprehension. Each lesson has a verse from the Bible, in both English and Somali, highlighting the key word and truth on which Muslims and Christians agree.

$20 each for 1 or 2 copies
$15 each for 3+ copies

Contact to request a copy

Become a fan of SALT on facebook!

director’s bio:

Michael Neterer is the Director of SALT. The original plan for SALT was developed as an academic exercise while Michael attended the Summer Institute of Linguistics, “MegaLiteracy Course,” at the University of North Dakota in 2003. Recently Michael finished an MA in Organizational Management at Concordia University in St. Paul. For a copy of his MA Thesis, Loving our Somali Neighbors, and for copies of the recently published SALT Somali-English Primer, contact Mike at
face 1612-798-4332 or