(Editor's note: In an international campaign to raise awareness about the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, World Vision offices around the world are coming together to tolerate #faminenomore. Will you join us?)
Why help? Why raise awareness? What could I possibly do to make an impact for the 12.4 million affected by drought and famine in the Horn of Africa?
[From the photo above] When the maize crop failed yet again this year, Hadija Hassan Abdi, 28, took her children and hitched rides for 8 days and nights until she reached the safety of Burtinle camp in Somalia. Along the way she begged for food for her children from strangers. She has been in the camp only 4 days, just long enough to construct a tiny stick hut covered in cloth scraps. There is nothing on the floor and no cooking utensils. She and eldest daughter, Nurto, 10 (on right, wearing orange scarf) are able to earn a little by hauling garbage away for families in nearby Burtinle city. But mostly she still survives primarily by begging. I wonder how we'd react if she came to us for help?
This story from Jon Warren, World Vision photographer in Somalia, really struck me. If Hadija and Nurto were begging right outside my door, what would I do? I live in Seattle, where I see people begging a lot -- sometimes I respond by giving and sometimes I don't. Hadija and Nurto aren't outside my door, but I can't ignore their story, their need. They are as real as the people needing help right in front of me.
12.4 million people are affected by hunger, fighting for their lives -- that's a big problem to wrap our minds around. But I know this... together, we can make an impact. So what could you possibly do to help those in crisis in the Horn of Africa? Start here.
LIVE THE LIFE OF A FAMINE-VICTIM FOR 30 HOURS. The millions suffering in the Horn of Africa are part of the some 900 million hungry people worldwide. The 30 Hour Famine gives your group a chance to do something about it. Read about the Famine team's recent experience in Dadaab, Kenya, one of the world's largest refugee camps.
TEXT. Get those texting thumbs ready... Text "FAMINE" to "20222" to text in your $10 donation to fight hunger and famine in the Horn of Africa
BLOG. What's the ONE THING you typically spend $10 on that you could give up this week and use the money you save to help those in the crisis in the Horn of Africa? Write a blog on this topic. Then LINK UP to us next week (we have a blog post coming on this very topic Monday morning, August 29, right here on the World Vision Blog).
DEDICATE A PICTURE. It's as simple as this: dedicate your profile picture on Facebook for a day, a week, or much longer and advocate for famine no more.
RUN, WALK, OR EVEN PADDLE. Team World Vision members are already raising funds and awareness for clean water projects in Africa, including Kenya and Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa. Whether you're the walking type, a first time marathoner, or marathon champion, you can use your exercise routine to help those needing clean water in the Horn of Africa and other places, too. See all Team World Vision events.
GIVE UP A MEAL. Consider how many people in your family can eat for $10. How about $50? We challenge you to give up one meal and, instead, use the money you save to help those who are going hungry in the Horn of Africa and who are on the brink of starvation in famine-declared Somalia.
PRAY. Pray for children and families affected by this severe drought and the resulting food crisis. Pray that aid organizations like World Vision would gain access to those who need help the most. Download prayer points for individuals, churches and prayer vigils.
BECOME A SPONSOR & FIND MORE SPONSORS. Sponsor a child in East Africa online or at your local Family Christian Store, and encourage others to become sponsors, too. By providing essentials like nutritious food and clean water, sponsorship helps children be better prepared to cope with disasters, like the current drought and food crisis across East Africa.
ADVOCATE. Send a message to your members of Congress. Ask them to oppose major cuts to the International Affairs budget, which provides critical, life-saving assistance to fight hunger and child mortality. Devastating and disproportionate cuts have been proposed that literally threaten lives of the poor and vulnerable. It makes up just 1.4 percent of the federal budget.
MULTIPLY YOUR IMPACT BY 5. When you give to our Horn of Africa Food Crisis fund, your donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact, thanks to government grants, to help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support, healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families in need. World Vision has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for many years, and will continue to respond in the midst of this crisis.
PUT YOUR FAITH INTO ACTION. Get your church family involved in caring for our brothers and sisters in the Horn of Africa by hosting an offering and educating your congregation. Download bulletin inserts, pastor speaking points, and other resources at www.worldvision.org/churches
REPOST. Sharing is one of the easiest things to do on the web these days, making sharing posts like this as easy as the click of your mouse. (Two ways to share: Click the "like" or "tweet" at the top of this post, or click the "share" at the bottom).
And one final strategy to make an impact...
LEAVE A COMMENT. Tell us what strategies you've come up with on your own that can make an impact for those suffering in the Horn of Africa. Give us your suggestions for posts like this. Ask us the questions you have about drought, famine, hunger and what's happening in the Horn of Africa region.
Read more posts about the East Africa Food Crisis.