A melee on the first day of the Wisconsin State Fair sparks questions about racism, culture and the supposed lack of values-based parenting.
Senseless violence in our streets such as the recent shooting death of a pregnant woman by three teen-age boys in front of her 13-year-old son during a robbery, the high rate of joblessness, state government actions dealing with a supposed debt crisis leads to drastic reductions in state aid and dismantling of collective bargaining, which leads to months of political unrest that culminate in recall elections.
When reading, watching or listening to news reports about these and other stories of the troubles of our city, state and nation, it can be hard to find room for concern or empathy for the troubles of the world, particularly for people of Somalia—especially the children—who are caught in the middle of armed conflict and famine in the region of Africa known as “The Horn.”
News reports reveal 12 million people in the Horn of Africa region need assistance. Somalia is the worst hit in the famine. The United Nations (UN) estimates that 29,000 children have died in the last month.
The refugee complex in Dadaab, Kenya is reportedly serving more Somali refugees than it was originally built for (100,000). The complex is struggling to accommodate 400,000 refugees with tens of thousands more at its edges.
Children are arriving at the Dadaab camp severely malnourished. Beds have been added to the children’s ward of a hospital run by the International Rescue Committee.
The UN reports it must raise $2.5 billion to deal with the crisis. So far it has only received 48% with $1.2 billion still needed.
In the midst of our own personal struggles, economic challenges, political upheaval and crime, we as a community must find the proverbial room in our hearts for the starvation and suffering that has engulfed a region of Africa that is all to familiar with misery.
But care we must if for no other reason because those suffering in Somalia and Kenya look like us. They are our kin, our extended family separated by thousands of miles of water and hundreds of years of history, culture, and language.
They need our help! We implore you to find that extra “heart room” to give. You can give through the Facebook Cause page or text “SURVIVE” to 20222 to donate $10 from the United States.
You can also pledge to fund-raise by spreading the word through Facebook and Twitter.
You can call UNICEF at 1-800-FOR-KIDS (1-800-367-5437) to donate by phone. OXFAM’s number is 1-800-77-OXFAM. There you can charge your donation to a number of different credit cards. You can mail a donation to OXFAM as well. Make your checks payable to Oxfam America” and send to Oxfam America, Food Crisis in East Africa, P.O. Box 1211, Albert Lea, MN 56007.
For AmeriCares, the number is 1-800-486-HELP from the U.S.
The MCJ will have more agencies, international, national and local in the coming weeks. Despite the troubles in our own backyard and our need and responsibility to address them, we must still reach out and do for others who are suffering out of sight, mind…and heart.
February 18, 2014 //
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