Stories of Hope from the Horn of Suffering

David Mansfield

 

Sydney Anglicans have responded generously to the starvation and suffering of people in the Horn of Africa.

In August and September Anglican Aid received $385,000 in donations to the Horn of Africa Emergency Famine Appeal. Many Sydney Anglicans would have donated through other agencies as well.

Earlier this month our Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, promised dollar for dollar matching for donations made throughout October and November. The opportunity for compassionate generosity continues with double the impact.

Anglican Aid’s partner in the north of Kenya is the Anglican Church of Kenya through TSM (The Sheepfold Ministries). They are working along the border with Somalia, in villages and refugee camps, including the infamous and tragic Dadaab Refugee Camp, the largest refugee camp in the world with nearly half a million people.

One of the many advantages of such a partnership is to have a local, indigenous partner who has already been working at the grass roots (tragically, without the grass) in the affected areas for decades, not only with relief, but with ongoing sustainable development initiatives.

TSM’s International Director, and The Archbishop of Kenya’s right hand relief and development man, Canon Francis Omondi is sending Anglican Aid regular reports on the aid delivery and the help and hope it is bringing.

Here is a sample, lifted straight from Francis’ reports, of these heartbeating stories in this heartbreaking region:

·     In the first round of distribution, which occurred in early August, we helped over 2,000 families . . .

·     During the month we received a generous gift to purchase a 9 ton Mitsubishi lorry to help with the transportation of famine survival packs . . .

·     In the month of September we began a very specialised programme at the refugee camp in Dadaab . . . supporting 630 families . . . we gave each family 5kg of rice, 5kg of beans, 1kg of sugar, 3 litres of cooking oil and Unimix for the children . . .

·     650 families were given food around the city of Wajir after our drivers, Mwangi and Dwight made the long and tiresome journey, they surprised themselves at have reached their destination. Surprised in that they often got lost on the sandy trails and often feared veering off into Somalia!

·     Around Wajir there were Somali communities who were grazing in the interior and the drought had pushed them out and were camping on the road. They are being given water and rations . . .

·     We have also food for 400 school children in Wajir and 220 children under 5 with therapeutic and nutrient rich Unimix . . .

·     We have run feeding programmes for under fives in Mororo. We planned for 100 children but there have been more each week and we are now serving 230 children here.

·     Muslim children have come alongdside their Christian neighbours for assistance. What a scene every morning! The programme is planned to begin at 10am but we have children streaming here at 7am with their bowls waiting for porridge which has become their lifeline . . .

·     Many of these children missed immunisation and have very acute health challenges and we are working on a plan to mitigate this challenge . . .

·     We have heard the unexpected . . . that two Spanish aid workers, both logistics officers with the aid group, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) were seized Thursday 13th October by gunmen . . . they have been taken across the border into war-torn Somalia . . . this abduction took place in Dadaab camp, my ‘safe haven’. In this melee we opt not to scale back but continue our relief efforts in the region and ask for your prayers for our safety as he has kept us safe for the last 23 years.

The opportunity to receive dollar for dollar funding continues until the end of November. Please consider the desparate plight of people in this famine ravaged and war torn region of the world, and give generously to help alleviate the suffering of people, both Christian and Muslim, in this devastating humanitarian crisis.