Earlier this year, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) warned that six million school-aged children in East Africa are facing an education crisis because of a lack of funding.
The organisation says that failure to deliver aid to the region could result in a ‘lost generation’ of children, unable to learn and then find employment in later life. Without help, their future looks bleak.
Children are, of course, the future of Somalia. They are all of our futures. Education gives them hope, empowerment and the opportunity to get ahead in life. In Somalia, children under 18 make up half the population.
Figures released by the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs showed that in Somalia and Ethiopia, nearly 340,000 school children are being forced out of education due to schools temporarily closing. Children are dropping out of school to look after their families and with the country facing famine, families are travelling around to search for food and clean water, which is negatively affecting any chance of a continuing education.
Charities are on the ground in Somalia to provide aid but they are also addressing the schooling needs of a generation.
One British charity has established several temporary learning spaces, equipped with teaching materials, to encourage those affected by the food crisis to continue their education. This education response aims to reach 56,000 children in Somalia alone.
We can only imagine what life is like for these young people. Each day is a fight for survival, a desperate search for food and water and a duty to look after those close to them.
During Ramadan, Muslims around the world reflect on those less fortunate than themselves. In Britain, we take education for granted, it’s simply part of growing up and we may not even realise how important it is for our wellbeing, social ability and prospects.
Throughout this Holy Month, we encourage British Muslims to consider the plight of thousands of Somali children who are experiencing unfathomable pain and suffering. They dream of having enough food and water and to be able to learn and get along in life.
Giving to those less fortunate is a cornerstone element of Ramadan. Last year, British Muslims donated more than £100million to charity – an incredible amount of money that helps countless people who don’t have the basic luxuries that we enjoy.
That’s why this Ramadan, we urge you to consider giving to charities who are working closely with Somali children to provide them with not only food and water but an education. And, by doing so, you are providing Somalia with a brighter future.
The DEC has launched an appeal for the East Africa region. It brings together 13 leading UK aid agencies to raise money at times of humanitarian crisis in poorer countries. By working together they can raise more money to save lives and rebuild shattered communities.
To make a donation to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610, or donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.
Together, we can make a real difference to the lives of thousands of Somali children this Ramadan, showing that British Muslims care – the young people of Somalia are not forgotten in this Holy Month.