Somalia is in the grip of a far-reaching humanitarian crisis that is affecting millions of innocent people. At Orphans in Need, we have teams on the ground who are working tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of entire communities, but the need for donations is far from over. We have spent years providing life-saving aid, but the Somalian crisis runs deep and extends to all corners of society.
Despite all the hurdles, we continue to try our hardest to help Somalia. Here are some of the ways we are providing support and assistance.
Reducing Acute Childhood Malnourishment
One of the most significant issues Somalians are facing is the national food shortage. Everyone is affected by crop failure and food insecurity, but children face the brunt of the problem. Pregnant women do not have access to vital food and nutrients during their pregnancy, resulting in more than a third of babies being born underweight. This puts them at a high risk of several other complications, including low oxygen levels, infections, lung development problems and difficulty gaining weight.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that 2.7 million people in Somalia are acutely malnourished, including more than 839,000 children under the age of five as of mid-2021. This disturbing figure means that many require urgent medical treatment to survive, and it brings other risks, including stunted growth. As children move into adulthood, the effects of childhood malnourishment can have a lasting impact on their physical development, as well as their mental intellect.
The risks of acute malnourishment extend further than hunger and being underweight – they can define a lifelong path of adversity, struggle and suffering. No child should have to go through this, nor should they be resigned to a life of turmoil so early on. At Orphans in Need, our teams are working across Somalia to give children essential nutrients and food provisions to develop at a healthy rate, standing a good chance of growing into healthy, able adults.
We do this by helping communities at their very core. This means providing livestock and crops, as well as distributing life-saving packages of staple foods in case of crop failure. If communities can support themselves, mothers will have the vital nutrients they need during pregnancy, and fewer children will be born underweight. As a result, fewer babies will face complications and will stand a good chance of growing at a healthy, normal rate.
Enrolling More Children in School
Education is the most powerful tool in the world. Sadly, so many children are denied the opportunity to learn, greatly limiting their future prospects and continuing the cycle of generational poverty. When it comes to what is being done to help Somalia, education is high on the Orphans in Need agenda.
More than three million children in Somalia are out of school, so more children are at work than in education. Only 30% of children are actually in school, and only 40% of those children are girls - who will eventually be forced to drop out when they reach puberty and begin to menstruate. Girls will leave school because they are forced into early marriages, and for boys as young as nine, there is a very real risk of them being kidnapped and forced to work as soldiers in the ongoing civil conflict.
Without an education, job prospects are severely restricted. Without the safety and routine of school, children may be forced to wander the streets and run the risk of being exploited by adults. Every child should have an equal shot at success, but millions of children are robbed of their chance in Somalia. That’s why we’re committed to giving every child we come into contact with a fair opportunity to learn and develop.
Supporting Communities At The Core
As much as we’d like to, we can’t tend to the needs of every single child in Somalia. With ongoing conflict displacing more than 2.6 million people and killing thousands more, the number of children who need our help is growing. Many men are recruited as soldiers or are killed in the crossfire. With men often being the breadwinners, children are left orphaned, and widows struggle to get by on handouts. Our goal is to help communities become self-sufficient by giving them the support they need.
For widows who can no longer take care of their children, the only option is to send them to an orphanage. Unfortunately, orphanages are overrun, and whilst they’re safer than the streets, many children are still neglected and do not receive the care they so desperately need. As a Muslim charity working in Somalia, we also recognize the importance of keeping families together.
Hence, the key on how to help Somalia, we believe, is to provide support at the core. This means we focus a lot of our time, energy and resources on bettering entire communities. We install sanitation stations and distribute food aid packages. We deploy doctors to administer essential medical care, and we also help widows find employment and create their source of reliable income.
In an ideal world, the need for charities would be obsolete because everyone would have the provisions they need to support themselves. This is why we emphasize helping communities at the core.
However, when an orphanage is the safest option for the children, we work with staff to ensure every child has enough clothing and food. We also provide grants to ensure accommodation is adequate and functional for all who are living there.
How We Can Help Somalia Together
We are working across Somalia to support as many children and people as possible, but we need your help. Please donate to our Somalia appeal so we can continue to reach the innocent lives who need us the most.