Have you heard of the terrible famine affecting Somalia? My heart breaks every time I see coverage of it on the news. The people of Somalia have already been suffering for a long time due to political unrest. When I was student teaching, many of my students were Somali refugees. These young people had often seen the murders of their parents, had been shot at nearly daily as they walked to school, and endured life at refugee camps where basic human necessities were scarce. They showed profound gratitude for the opportunities the United States offered them, including their education which they took very seriously. Many of them lived in small cramped apartments (as many as fifteen people in a one bedroom apartment) and their parents worked minimum wage agricultural or manufacturing jobs, yet their lives were much better than they were in Somalia. Imagine that, being grateful to live in extreme poverty in the United States. I cannot imagine the conditions they lived in before that would make them so happy to have so little.
Although we don't have much money to donate, my husband and I have felt called to contribute to the famine relief in Somalia. We've decided to donate to Catholic Relief Services, specifically to their Emergency Relief Fund for the East Africa Drought. A few years ago, I became aware of the importance of donating through specifically Catholic charities due to the birth control and sterilization practices encouraged by some international relief organizations. Catholic Relief Services is a prominent Catholic international aid organizations and does great work throughout the world. If you feel called to help the people in Somalia or other people suffering throughout the world, I suggest you research any organization to which you are interested in donating to make sure that they operate within your morals.
The Pope has recently expressed great concern for the people of East Africa. If you do not feel called to send financial support or are unable, remember that the most important thing you can do is pray.