We’d like to introduce you to The African Future, an organization devoted to improving the quality of life for the future of Africa. In this piece, founder Abdi-Fatah Ahmed reports on their efforts in Somalia. Follow them on Twitter at @dafricanfuture
We have all seen the figures: 4 million Somalis are directly impacted by the ongoing famine in East Africa; 750,000 are at risk for starvation. We can comprehend that these are not just numbers. They are parents without options, kids without dreams, real people without food to put in their mouths.
In Somalia, they die of hunger. The new year has not made this reality go away.
People say that it is too dangerous or too difficult to help. So we excuse ourselves by telling ourselves that it is impossible to do our part. We at The African Future (TaF) want to tell you a different story –- our story.
The African Future’s first Convoy for Hope demonstrated that food aid could be safely delivered into certain towns in southern Somalia, which are under the firm control of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia & other local administrations. Last August, our convoy into Dhoobley, Somalia was the first to cross the border from Kenya, prompting other international aid agencies to follow our lead. From August 15 to 23, we distributed our second and third convoys to an additional 1,500 families, or 7,500 people.
In September 2011, our fourth convoy left for Balet Hawa and Dolo, two places that had not received any major food shipments since the famine was declared two months earlier. When we arrived on the scene, our team witnessed the grim devastation: emaciated and dying children against an exposed landscape of thousands of people sleeping in makeshift shelters under trees -– many who had been traveling for weeks by foot through the desert in search of food and water. We fed 25,000 people in four days.
One food basket is filled with enough goods to sustain a family of five for 2 weeks. The food is traditional –- it includes rice, porridge, dates, tea leaves and more -– things that Somalis are accustomed to eating. They don’t cost very much. All in, including delivery and other incidentals, a person can be fed for two weeks for just $5. We’ve so far reached 50,000 people with food aid.
So please, the next time you or someone you know thinks it is impossible to help, remember this story. And better yet, join our Convoy For Hope. The next delivery leaves in February 2012. They can have a future.