Imagine if you were a child living in the Gebo and Bay regions of Somalia last summer. Instead of having the opportunity to go to school in the fall you were trapped in a massive drought zone. With food supplies low your family would be forced to flee the region as a matter of survival.
Starting in the summer of 2011 streams of hungry Somalis fled Gebo, Bay and other crisis areas. Some parts of Southern Somalia were declared in famine as starvation had set in. The drought, combined with conflict, placed over 13 million people were put at risk of starvation in Somalia and other countries in East Africa.
Thousands of residents of Gebo and Bay are now in the Kobe and Hilaweyn refugee camps in Ethiopia and depending on relief from aid agencies. Save the Children is helping kids within these camps by providing emergency education and school meals. The meal will be a porridge, made of a corn-soy blend, served as a breakfast at school.
In addition Save the Children wants to provide school meals to children in the Melkadida and Bokolmayo camps, also in Ethiopia.
Save the Children hopes to provide meals to 8,037 children who are currently receiving emergency education in these four refugee camps. And they want to expand the program to reach more children. There are 43,966 school age children in the four camps.
Save the Children is also working on the construction of schools to expand educational opportunities.
The school meal program, with supplies from the UN World Food Programme, will improve child nutrition. It’s also expected to improve enrollment and enhance the teaching and learning process.
Funding though is critical. Save the Children says resources for the program is expected to run out later this year. That is where the public can help by supporting Save the Children’s East Africa appeal.
Article first published as Save the Children Starts School Meals for Somali Refugees on Blogcritics.