Q: I have a question for your column: What can we do about the famine in Somalia and Ethiopia?
As a result of the severe drought in the Horn of Africa, millions of East Africans are on the brink of famine. The United Nations declared Somalia a drought and famine stricken area.
There are international aid agencies and local agencies like the American Refugee Committee working in some parts of Somalia and refugee camps in Kenya. These agencies are helping people by providing food, water and shelter in the areas affected. But it is not enough.
There are more people that need help than the agencies can help or have funding for.
A lot of people ask me where they can donate and what can they do to help. To help, you can donate money to any of the organizations working in Somalia or talk to your Somali friends, co-workers or neighbors about other ways you can help. We all have families and friends back in Somalia and we send money all the time. If you give your donation to an individual from Somalia it will go to a family, friend or a neighbor that is in need.
Another thing people can do is organize a cook out or hold a get together at their homes and ask donations and raise money.
The American Refugee Committee is currently working with Somali agencies and individuals in the Twin Cities and initiating new programs like the Neighbors for Nations to help the situation in Somalia.
Masjid Dawah is organizing a fundraiser to benefit the people of Somalia on August 6 at 478 University Avenue West in St. Paul as part of their annual iftar dinner. Stop by and drop a check ot cash of any amount. Prayers begin at 6:30 and the free iftar (breaking the Ramadan fast, about 8:30 p.m.) will raise money for famine relief.
Also, below is a list of agencies you can give your donations to help these famine stricken areas in East Africa. These agencies are currently on the ground helping these suffering people that need our help. You can donate online or by text message. Some of the organizations will allow you to specify where you want your donations to go to. Regardless, whether it’s drawing attention to the crisis, donating your money or organizing a fundraiser, please help for these are other fellow human beings.
- American Refugee Committee (world headquarters in Minneapolis) [Editor’s note: After this article was published, we received a press release from General Mills, which says they will match donations to ARC, up to $50,000.]
- Masjid Dawah Institute
478 University Ave. West, St. Paul, MN 55103
Contact Person: Sh. Hassan Jamici (651) 224-6722
- Doctors Without Borders
- International Committee of the Red Cross
- ARAHA – American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa
- Save the Children You can donate online or text SURVIVE to 20222 to donate $10
- UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)