Where We Work
Somalia is a beautiful but war torn country in the Horn of Africa.
A Humanitarian Crisis
Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991. For decades, generals, warlords and criminals have reduced this once languid coastal country in Eastern Africa to rubble. Somalia remains a raging battle zone today.
In 2006, Ethiopian troops entered the country and were joined by African Union Forces, known as Amisom, in 2007 to protect the weak, Western backed transitional federal Somali government in Mogadishu. Rebel Somali groups opposing the military intervention in Somalia continue to fight against those troops, leaving civilians caught in the crossfire. Brutal attacks, mortar shelling, torture, rape and murder combined with famine, drought and disease have led to the deaths of over one million Somali people and displaced another 1.5 million. One of the poorest countries on earth, an average family of seven lives on only $1.36 per day and over 40% of the population depends on international aid to survive.
Women in need of support
This unrelenting war in Southern Somalia has produced generations of youth who have never known anything but conflict and the instability has given rise to increasingly onerous and repressive edicts enforced by young men influenced by the violence around them.
Women, in particular, are facing serious oppression. Their rights to claim basic freedoms like careers or education have been severely restricted or forbidden. Bans on women's movements in public are profoundly curtailing their ability to address their basic needs. In some ares, women are forbidden to leave their homes unless accompanied by a male family member. In a country with so many war widows, this restriction is leading families into starvation.
Gender based violence has increased. Public stoning of women accused of adultery are becoming increasingly common, often based on nothing more than rumours. In 2008, a 13 year old victim of a gang rape was stoned to death while a crowd of nearly 1000 watched.
Education in Somalia
Twenty years of war have had a catastrophic effect on education, with recent data from the Global Campaign for Education report (2010) estimating that only 10% of children are enrolled in primary school. Somalia is one of only four countries in the world where more than 70% of the population is illiterate.
Less than 1% of Somali females will have the opportunity to pursue their dream of a university education.
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