Perched on the very tip of the Horn of Africa, Somalia has suffered two decades of hardship, violence, and displacement. Millions of people were forced to flee their homes, traveling to Kenya and Ethiopia or to other parts of Somalia. The crippling famine in 2011 caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, and now, another hunger crisis – the result of severe drought – is threatening families again. An estimated 6 million people are in need of immediate food support, many of them children.
Thanks to the spirit and efforts of the worldwide Somali Diaspora and other compassionate individuals, organizations and governments, relief is getting to people who need it. Donors have looked past the negative imagery of Somalia in the media and sent their support. That support is saving the lives of mothers and fathers, children, poets, artists, innovators, farmers, businesspeople, human beings. But there is still so much that needs to be done in Somalia.
And it will take an investment of time and great effort to shake off the legacy of 20 years of war and unrest in Somalia. The country has the world's lowest rates of school enrollment, and experts estimate that 18% of children born in Somalia will not live to age 5.
Large Somali communities and their supports and friends in Minneapolis, San Diego, Columbus, London and other cities are joining forces to keep assistance flowing into the country. They are providing lifesaving support to families still struggling on the edge, and they're reframing the image of Somalia and her people in the meantime. Sustained creative action is necessary to help Somalia recover and rebuild.