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The establishment of the Holi’ana’a Foundation was marked by the issue of notarial deed No. 2 dated July 17, 1996 at Gunungsitoli, which has since been remembered as the date, month and year of the organisation's founding. Subsequently, Holi'ana'a was registered in the Nias Regency Social Service as an active social organization in Nias Regency with the Serial Number 16.

The early years of Holiana'a laid down the mission and values that would define it from then on - as a humanitarian, non-religious foundation that stands on the values ​​of justice, truth, equality and peace.The organisation's first projects established a pattern that remains to this day, one of empowerment through economic advancement, and included organic crop demonstration plots used to train local farmers. 

In 2004, a devastating tsunami affected parts of Nias Island, and was quickly followed by an even more devastating earthquake in 2005. Yayasan Holi'ana'a led the construction and management of public kitchens, food and logistic distribution and temporary school buildings in the immediate aftermath, and ongoing livelihood recovery, home construction, disaster preparedness training and environmental recovery projects in the years afterwards. During these years, the organisation aided more than 2,500 disaster affected families in conjunction with overseas partners. 

In 2011, in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross and Efos, three hectares of land on the outskirts of Gunung Sitoli was purchased and Livelihood Training Centre came into being. This farm is designed to provide accomodation and training for up to 60 people on sustainable rubber, rice and cocoa harvesting, organic fruit and vegetable farming, pig farming, catfish farming, microfinance, small business and also training on social issues like gender, climate change and DRR. The centre has trained more than 5,000 people since 2012 from a variety of different backgrounds; including women, farmers, village leaders, NGO workers, government workers and students.

Yayasan Holi'ana'a has also established a microfinance institution called KSP YATEHOLI which now has more than 1,000 members in Nias Island.