He stands in tired dismay surveying the dry, dusty land that once flourished with rich and lush crops…his livelihood. The scorching sun heating the back of his neck serves as the burning reason why his family is starving. There’s nothing left here for him and his family except famine and death. He feels a gentle tug on his hand. Looking down, he stares into the dark eyes of his little girl, her tummy swollen from malnutrition. This is the moment he decides to join 500,000 others in fleeing this desolate and desperate situation…
There is a major crisis in the Horn of Africa—Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda— where over 13 million people are fighting for their lives, battling starvation, and desperately seeking help from overcrowded refugee camps. This area of the world is suffering from severe drought, and in simple math, no rain equals no crops, no livestock—no income, no food.
When we run out of food, many of us just make a list, grab our money and head the nearest grocery store. In these lands, that is simply not how it works. The logistics of getting food to starving families in these parts of the world is complicated. The people in this region of the world need high-nutrient foods packed with vitamins and protein to help restore and maintain health. Not only do they need immediate nutritional help, but they require long-term assistance in becoming self-sufficient again. They’ve lost everything; they are struggling to survive and need hope. Even as they reach refugee camps, they still face the horrors of life-threatening disease, illness and food shortages.
The International Disaster Response Network (IDRN) is launching a worldwide campaign on December 11, 2011to raise awareness and funds to support the Horn of Africa. The Africa Response campaign is a team of organizations from around the world including, the middle-East, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia, uniting together to provide food in the affected areas of Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. This team has already made a difference by creating an on-the-ground distribution network of volunteers who have delivered over 800,000 meals in these areas. IDRN volunteer teams purchase food supplies from local vendors to help support the area commerce and spark confidence in using local resources. In addition, teams of physicians have dispatched to refugee camps to treat disease and teach proper nutrition.
With a land so far away and the number of suffering people so overwhelming, what could you or I ever do to help—to make a difference? We can work together. There’s power in numbers. We donate funds and spread the word for a call to action. I know it’s easier said than done, especially for a campaign that’s barely begun for an organization you may not know about. I get it. I challenge you to do your research. Pledge to gather the information. Here’s what I suggest. Start with the following steps:
1) Research IDRN: Check out their website www.IDRN.info, read about what they are doing, what they have done, and their future goals and hopes for this region.
2) View this video from the campaign’s executive director, Mike McCausland. http://ow.ly/7GHNQ
3) Navigate the IDRN Facebook page: Log onto www.facebook.com/africaresponse and read the information, check the updates, and read the press release. If you feel good about what you see, “LIKE” the page so you can stay updated.
4) Eavesdrop and join in the conversation on Twitter. A lot of people are talking about #hornofafrica and talking to @AfricaResponse. It’s a transparent campaign dedicated to helping the Horn of Africa. They value conversation and passionate action.
Start with these steps and subscribe to my blog. I will post updates and information here about the latest efforts. I truly believe we can make a difference together. We can help restore the lives of the people in the Horn of Africa.
This is the first post in my Horn of Africa Response blog series. It’s my honest and real effort to spread the word about a desperate crisis, encourage action, and inform/update you about a worldwide campaign from the International Disaster Response Network’s African Response. I support this organization 100% and its efforts to respond the distressed situation in Eastern Africa. I’m honored to do what I can for this active and compassionate network of countries who are coming together to help fellow nations. If you would like to team up with Pen to Paper Communications, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other posts about my involvement with IDRN Africa Response: