Mindy Mizell of World Vision is traveling through the Horn of Africa to report on the relief efforts for famine and drought victims. Amid so much chaos and horror Mizell finds rays of hope, such as 13-year-old Abdillahi, a Somali refugee living in Dadaab, Kenya. His family was forced to flee Somalia to find food and escape the violence.
Here is a child confronted with war and famine and Mizell said he never uttered a single complaint or talked about how unfortunate he was. Instead, he remained positive and upbeat.
Mizell writes, "I guess I expected him to say that he wanted more food, more water, better clothes or maybe a soccer ball. Instead, Abdillahi told me he wanted to go to school again! Not only did Abdillahi believe he had a bright future, but he spent several minutes advocating on behalf of his Somali friends and telling me that they all needed to go to school in order to find good jobs someday."
World Vision's Mindy Mizell interviews Abdillahi, 13, in the Dadaab refugee camp. (World Vision photo)
Young Abdillahi just pointed the way to what can end hunger and build peace in the Horn of Africa: education and food.
In responding to the drought in East Africa, it's vital to ensure that all children can receive school meals and an education. This is extremely challenging, especially in areas where there are refugees and host communities all with great needs.
Lisa Doherty of UNICEF explains, "In some cases there have been massive influxes of communities and school-aged children into urban areas where there aren’t school facilities to absorb them all.”
UNICEF states that "school feeding, provision of learning materials and teacher incentives and additional learning spaces are the top priorities in order to ensure that children can access learning opportunities, many for the first time."
Rozanne Chorlton, UNICEF Somalia Representative says, “Education is a critical component of any emergency response. Schools can provide a place for children to come to learn, as well as access health care and other vital services. Providing learning opportunities in safe environments is critical to a child’s survival and development and for the longer term stability and growth of the country.”