Life is hard for the nomadic people struggling to survive in the arid Afar region of Ethiopia. For generations, they have managed to be able to keep themselves and their cattle alive in the drought-prone region. But this year’s severe drought is the worst these people have seen in their lifetime.
“By now the number of drought victims in Ethiopia has reached 7.8 million people suffering from widespread drought,” reported Yimer Mohammed, Director of the Yeteem Children and Destitute Mothers Fund, our long-time partner.
The severity of the drought has prompted Mr. Mohammed to make an urgent request for emergency drought food aid citing crop failure and food shortages “which aggravates the vulnerability of household livelihood through the devastation of livestock resources.”
And we could not refuse his request for funding for wheat flour, vegetable oil, biscuits and rice which will go towards sustaining an estimated 12,000 children, women and men on the brink of death during this period of extreme hardship – and thanks to our supporters, we did not have to.
Over the past few weeks, communities across the globe have been faced with challenge after challenge! Weather emergencies here in the United States and Sierra Leone have hurt so many that live in the path of these destructive storms.
Once again, from all of us at Bread and Water for Africa®, our hearts go out to the people of Sierra Leone.
As many of you know, on August 14, after days of unrelenting rain, a sea of mud and rock came sliding down a hillside into the suburbs of the nation’s capital of Freetown.
Nearly 1,000 are now confirmed dead, and hundreds remain missing. Additionally, 20,000, including 5,000 children, have been displaced.
But your help has made a difference in the lives of those affected. Here are some of the images that just arrived from our local partner, Faith Healing Development Organization, of our efforts to provide medicine and food to thousands.
The immediate support our donors provided allowed us to quickly purchase tons of food to distribute to hundreds of families.
Later this week, we will also ship a 20-foot container of medicine and medical supplies, as we know that the suffering will continue for months.
Once again, from all of us at Bread and Water for Africa®, our hearts go out to the people of Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone has had a history of natural disasters and violence. In the 1990s they suffered through a horrific civil war, then in 2014 the country lost over 4,000 of its citizens from the deadly Ebola virus outbreak leaving the struggling nation, already among the poorest in the world, devastated.
And then, just as the country was returning to some semblance of normalcy, in the early morning hours of August 14, after days of unrelenting rain, a sea of mud and rock came crashing down into the suburbs of the nation’s capital of Freetown. Initial reports stated 500 are confirmed dead, including 150 children, with more than 600 people still missing. In addition, 20,000 inhabitants, including 5,000 children, have been displaced.
Media reports in the days that followed highlighted the harrowing details of the tragedy, including the fact that the worst is yet to come as rain continued, food and medical supplies are low and it is doubtful that there will be any more survivors found, more than doubling the death toll.
The actual number of victims is difficult to know. Given the force of the mudslide, a volunteer told the British news agency that more than a week after the disaster, “We are still finding body parts in the rubble.”
The most vulnerable are the young children made orphans by this catastrophe.
In an August 24 ABC news report, charities in Sierra Leone (such as Bread and Water for Africa® and our long-time partner, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO)) “are grappling with how to help the hundreds of children who have lost parents. It is particularly difficult in a country where just two years ago, a deadly Ebola outbreak decimated many families.”
The Sierra Leone government estimates that at least 4,000 children have been affected and humanitarian aid groups, like Bread and Water for Africa®, are racing to help prevent orphaned children from further trauma.
In addition to the challenges of treating their injuries and providing food and shelter, there is the real fear that child traffickers will be seeking to exploit the situation in Freetown.
“They are especially vulnerable right now,” an aid worker told ABC news. “We saw cases like this during the Ebola outbreak where individuals will come in, say they want to care for a child, take him or her into their home and then abuse them. So we are seeing this as a situation that’s ripe for that kind of exploitation and we want to prevent it.”
According to UNICEF, of the 7,000 people that have registered as being affected by the disaster, 15 percent, or 1050 individuals, are children under the age of 5, with another 40 percent, or 2,800 between the ages of 6 and 18.
“Children have been left homeless, vulnerable and terrified,” stated a UNICEF spokesman. “We must do all we can to protect them from disease and exploitation.”
Safe drinking water and shelter are the immediate priorities for thousands of people, according to the United Nations.
With destruction and damage to water and sanitation facilities, a major concern for government and health officials is an outbreak of cholera, malaria and other infectious diseases.
The country’s deputy health minister told CNN that some residents have skin infections from the water they are washing in, and officials are putting in place plans for cholera preparedness and prevention.
“We are equipped to a point,” the deputy minister said. “We can’t do it alone.”
The presidential spokesman has appealed for more international aid including medical supplies, shelters, and blankets to help the city recover but warns that there is “a high risk of cholera” with people still living in the devastated areas, without clean water and sanitation.
“We are overstretched,” he told CNN. “We were just on the verge of recuperating after Ebola and the civil war. We are overwhelmed. Sierra Leone is a small country with a small economy and we cannot do this alone…we appeal very passionately to the world to come to our aid.”
The World Health Organization reports that it is working closely with the Sierra Leone government to prevent the spread of malaria, cholera, typhoid and diarrheal conditions in the wake of last week’s mudslides and flooding. Community workers are being trained to recognize the signs of these deadly diseases in areas at risk.
What Bread and Water for Africa® is Doing Today
During the deadly Ebola outbreak of 2014, Bread and Water for Africa® was there working hand-in-hand with FHDO in their efforts to provide medicines and food to thousands.
And thanks to our generous supporters, we are there for them once again.
With food and medicine in short supply, we teamed up with our partner, MAP International, to have emergency medicine immediately airlifted to the country.
In addition, we have teamed up with FHDO to provide food and other medical supplies.
With the funding we received from our donors, FHDO Executive Director Rev. Frances Mambu was able to purchase rice, oil and many other food and hygiene items for the injured, hungry and homeless.
And in a few weeks we will be shipping a 20-foot container of more medicines and medical supplies recognizing that the pain and suffering will continue for the months to come.
With sincere thanks to our supporters and partners, Bread and Water for Africa® will be doing all we can to alleviate the suffering of thousands in Sierra Leone.
Devastating flooding and mudslides have hit Sierra Leone washing away entire communities on the outskirts of Freetown.
Bread and Water for Africa® is responding to this emergency. Days of torrential rain have created terrifying mudslides in northern Sierra Leone, where our partner Faith Healing Development Corporation (FHDO) works to provide schooling, health care, and food to the poor. Thousands are feared dead and missing, and Rev. Mambu, FHDO Executive Director, reports that the situation is dire, with children in his care critically injured, and tragically, dying.
Massive flooding has left tens of thousands without shelter. Another deadly outbreak of cholera is a near certainty. We are air-freighting a container of emergency medical supplies tomorrow that can help meet the needs of 20,000 individuals. With the support of our donors, we will send funds to buy bottled water, medical supplies, water purification tablets, and oral rehydration kits. Next week, we will ship tons of disaster relief supplies, including medical, hygiene, and other relief items. Because of the caring and immediate support of our donors and partners, we are able to quickly respond to this crisis to save lives.
Any child living anywhere in the world is destined for a life of poverty without an education.
Nowhere is that more true than in sub-Saharan Africa which in no way could be described as “a land of opportunity” for those who can’t read or write, add or subtract of have a general knowledge of the world.
Theirs is a life of struggle and despair with no hope for anything better in their life than to labor hard – if they are fortunate enough to find work – eat for a day, and have a place to sleep for the night.
That’s why Bread and Water for Africa® provides funding for school fees and school uniforms for hundreds of children each year in several African countries.
For example, in Cameroon, our partner there Hope Services, enables deserving children whose greatest wish in the world is to go to school with funding provided by supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®.
This year, Hope Services Director Esther Ndichafah expects to enable more than 200 underprivileged children including orphans and what she calls “persecuted children” to go to school, giving them their only chance for success in life.
Her mission, she says, is to give “the underprivileged the same opportunities to be educated like others” and helping transform “poor children into established self-reliant individuals” by encouraging academic excellence.
At Bread and Water for Africa® Esther’s mission is our mission. We strongly believe that education is not a key to success, it is THE key to success.
In the villages of Bangolan and Babungo in Cameroon, as well as Lolo in Chad, secondary school tuition is extremely inexpensive compared to what it costs to educate a child in the United States.
That is unless you are a poor orphan and then it may as well be $1 million.
In Kenya, Bread and Water for Africa® provides funding for secondary school students living at the affiliated Lewa Children’s Home as well as sponsored children in the local community.
Stella Keino of the Lewa Children’s Home stated that by providing school fees for orphans living at Lewa and others “This benefits the Eldoret community and the country as a whole.”
Stella sees short term, medium term and long term outcomes for the students.
In the short term, children will be able to go directly to high school without any disruption to their education with funding for the school fees in place from the start of the school year to the end.
In the medium term, children will be able to attend all the years of high school without worry of how they will pay their school fees year after year.
And in the long term, the students will be able to attain a higher education than they otherwise might not have been able to “and develop themselves to be better citizens.”
In Zimbabwe, working with our partner there, Margaret Makambira, director of Shinga Development Trust, 30 primary school students and 20 secondary school students, will benefit from our school fee support program.
Margaret firmly believes, as do we, that an educated population will empower the nation, build healthy communities and lead to a long-term goal of self-sufficiency as she works to eradicate illiteracy in her community, one child at a time.
The result of our efforts – all of us, Bread and Water for Africa®, our grassroots partners working every day to better the lives of children in the communities, and you, our supporters who make it all possible – is that today hundreds of children are in school instead of the streets, and tomorrow they will have a bright future, leading the way for thousands to follow.
Bread and Water for Africa® is proud to announce that the construction of the Dr. Kenneth Gerdes primary school in Cameroon is completed and its doors have just opened to students eager to begin a brand new school year in a brand new school building.
Last year, construction began on the K-5 school building, with more classrooms to come, and we couldn’t be more pleased to hear from school President Julius Esunge that the 130 children who have enrolled now have the opportunity for a quality education.
“We are excited that this dream is coming to fruition,” he added.
And so are we here at Bread and Water for Africa®. There is nothing we love doing more than seeing a person with a dream to help others – literally making the world a better place – realize their dream.
You can see for yourself the smiles on the faces of the happy children who can now rejoice as they too are realizing their dream, a dream of an education and a successful future.