Photo: WFP/Rose Ogola

 
Written by Jackie of La Casa de Sweets

 
The children in this photo look so happy, so carefree. It’s hard to imagine that they are sitting in the middle of a refugee camp in Kenya, waiting for food. They are part of a group of about 13 million people in East Africa who are slowly starving to death. They are hungry, and waiting. Waiting for the world to remember that they are there, and to act.

What started as a drought has become one of the worst humanitarian crises in history. A lack of rain, failed harvests and lost livestock, and high food prices are all to blame for the famine. Families are traveling for days, without food and little water, just to reach refugee camps, where they hope to find some kind of relief. Something that will help them survive. If something isn’t done, a lot of them won’t.

I could show you photos of the children starving to death. Images that are so utterly heart wrenching, you’ll wish you’d never seen them. Children who barely look alive, who are barely breathing, barely hoping for a future that they know might never come.

Instead of showing you these photos, I’ll give you the facts:

- Over 13 million people are at risk of starvation in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda
- 4 million people are at risk of starvation in Somalia, 2 million of these are children
- Over 500,000 people are displaced in refugee camps
- An estimated 750,000 people will die from starvation this year alone

And, if that isn’t enough to convince you something needs to be done, maybe this will:

In Somalia, one child is dying from starvation every 6 minutes.

This means that in the time it will take you to read this, one child will have starved to death. And that is simply unacceptable.

I know it’s so hard to think about a famine happening thousands of miles away from us when there are so many problems in our own lives and our own countries. The easiest thing would be to not think about the famine and starvation, and go on with our lives, sometimes glancing at a news story about the famine and shaking our heads at the pity of it all. It would be easy, but it wouldn’t be right.

I remember when I first saw the images from Somalia and the refugee camps in Kenya. It was over the summer, when the news agencies were actually focusing on this tragedy, that I first saw one of the starving children. My youngest daughter, who was 9 months old at the time, had a virus. I remember worrying about the fact that she wasn’t eating or drinking enough. I was holding her while I turned on the news for a few minutes. And that’s when I saw her: a young mother holding her sick baby girl. The little girl looked like she could barely breathe, she was so weak and famished. For days, I couldn’t get that image out of my mind. Two little babies, one who would recover quickly with medication, the other whose fate was hanging in the balance.

I needed to do something, anything that would help. After a week of sleepless nights, a lot of research, and communicating with on-the-ground journalists and international aid groups, I organized a project. I called it Bloggers Unite for Africa, a campaign to help fight the famine.

Fellow bloggers, I need your help! We have come together before for a good cause, and I know we can do it again. Please help Bloggers Unite for Africa raise money for Africa. I am asking you to join me in the fight against famine. Let us make a difference. If we don’t, the cries of hungry children will echo in our minds long after the famine has ended.

Thank you so much for your time, your help, and your compassion!

Sincerely,
Jackie
La Casa de Sweets

 
Here’s how you can help:

Starting Monday, October 17, Bloggers Unite for Africa will begin a fundraiser, a donation-based giveaway to raise money for our Global Giving projects in the famine areas of Africa. They need help spreading the word about their fundraiser through blogs, Twitter, and Facebook so that readers can consider making a donation. The more readers reached, the more money can be raised to help the victims of the famine. If you would like to donate a prize for their giveaway fundraiser, please email Jackie at lacasadesweets@gmail.com.

 

4 Responses to Project Awareness: Bloggers Unite for Africa

  1. Thank you for bringing awareness to the famine in the Horn of Africa. Because the news isn’t reporting it, people have forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind. Heartbreaking though it is – I’m so glad you’re bringing it to the forefront of our minds, Jackie. So glad we can help in some way.

  2. BWOB, Thank you so much for helping Jackie share and spread her message. Very cool.

  3. Sara M says:

    As a former Peace Corps Uganda volunteer I know first hand the damage drought and poverty can cause. Peace Corps volunteers work hand in hand with local organizations and peoples to help improve their lives and the lives of their families, often through income-generating projects (crafts, farming, poultry/pig projects, etc). Think about also donating to the thousands of Peace Corps volunteers throughout the world! is a link where you can donate to individual Peace Corps volunteers’ projects!