Provide famine relief to families in Somalia

by World Concern
You're helping people like Halima and Raha survive

A small patch of black hair is growing in on the back of 6-year-old Raha’s head – a sign of health in her frail body. For months, her hair has been turning almost blond and her belly swelled – indications that malnutrition was taking its toll.

What’s changed? Food.

Raha is one of eight children. They live in Dhobley, Somalia, a drought and famine-stricken community in southern Somalia. Her mother, Halima, resorted to begging to try and feed her hungry, crying children. She would leave early in the morning and return each afternoon … sometimes with a little food to cook; other times with nothing.

“There is no job opportunity and people are hungry,” she said.

The family survived because World Concern and donors like you are providing food for Halima and her children through a unique voucher program. With the vouchers she receives, Halima can purchase food from local merchants in Dhobley. She’s now able to feed her children three meals a day. 

“Since we didn’t have something to cook, when we get the support of the food voucher, we are very happy.  There is a total difference in our lives,” Halima said, smiling.

She runs her hands back and forth on Raha’s head, pausing on the patch of black hair in back. “When she got food, she has been recovering,” she said.

World Concern has provided food for 135,000 meals in Dhobley since August. Autumn rains have made access difficult, and insecurity remains a major challenge in reaching people with life-saving aid. But we’re uniquely positioned to help in this crisis, and we’re using innovative methods to work around the challenges. As a result, lives like little Raha’s are being saved.

Please help us reach more families in the Horn of Africa.


A woman receives rice, beans, oil, sugar and salt
A woman receives rice, beans, oil, sugar and salt

With your support, we've reached more than 20,000 hungry people with food in the war-torn town of Dhobley, Somalia! We've also brought life-saving water to an additional 19,500 people in Kenyan border communities hardest hit by drought.

It has been an amazing month, as we've faced many challenges – including fighting that broke out in Dhobley on Sept. 30, and most recently – rain! The rain is a sign of hope that there could be an end to the drought, but it also makes it difficult to reach those we're helping. The ground is so dry it can't absorb water. Puddles quickly turn into ponds, and roads become inaccessible.

In spite of all this, we’ve made some great progress, and reached desperate people with aid. I just returned from the Horn of Africa, and want to share with you some of the amazing things that you’re helping make possible in the midst of this horrific crisis.

But first, please take note that this Wednesday, Oct. 19 is Global Giving’s Bonus Day! Any donation made on Oct. 19 will be matched at 30% up to $1,000! Please consider helping us continue the progress we’re making and save more lives.

While I was in Somalia, I saw weary, exhausted mothers and fathers wait patiently in line to receive food rations from World Concern – finally able to feed their hungry children. They filled plastic jugs with fresh, clean water and sat in the dust beneath bare trees to drink and eat. Some have told us this is the best meal they’ve had in months. 

Malika is one of those we’ve helped. After traveling in the back of a truck for days with her five children and 14 other families, she rested in a makeshift shelter near the Somalia-Kenya border. Her face was expressionless as she contemplated the journey to the overcrowded refugee camps. I’m sure she thought about the desolation she’d left behind, and wondered what was ahead for her family.

We were able to give Malika and her children enough food for 20 days, including rice, beans, oil, salt and sugar, along with some necessities – a cooking pot, water jug, mosquito nets, blankets and soap.

“This is exactly what I needed,” she said with gratitude. “It allows me to cook and do washing for my family. This is very important to me.”

Thousands more are receiving food each day through a unique voucher system. Families redeem the vouchers for specific food items from local shops. This supports the struggling local economy, ensures food ends up in the hands of those who need it most, and helps build relationships in places that are usually inaccessible.

Hundreds of sick and wounded children and families have been given medical assistance through our partners. You’re helping make this possible as well. Many of the children we serve are suffering from malnutrition, diarrhea and other famine-related illnesses.

Your support is vital to reaching families suffering in the Horn of Africa. According to the UN, an estimated 750,000 people are at risk of dying by the end of this year. Thank you for partnering with us as we bring life-saving help to those in desperate need.

With humble gratitude,

Dave Eller, President

World Concern

An excited family receives a voucher for food.
An excited family receives a voucher for food.


Marium Dahir and two of her children.
Marium Dahir and two of her children.

We’ve been working in Dhobley, Somalia, a town near the Kenya border that thousands of refugees use as a transit point on their way to the camps in Dadaab. Many are arriving with nothing after walking for days, or even weeks, in search of help. We’ve been able to provide food to people like Marium Dahir and her children.

A widow and mother of eight, Marium didn’t have the means to flee her desolate hometown near Kismaayo, in southern Somalia. She had been earning a meager income from burning charcoal, but over the past few months, even that opportunity had vanished.

Some friends in her community offered to pay her way to the refugee camps in Kenya, but there was only enough money for four people. She had to make the heartbreaking decision to leave five of her children behind. Two daughters, ages 8 and 9, and her 15-year-old son came with her. They traveled for three days in the back of a truck, hoping to find help and a way for the family to be reunited.

Worn out, thin and hungry, Marium and her children arrived in Dhobley. She held her children close as she talked about the hard life she had just left behind.

Less than 24 hours after arriving, the family received emergency food, including rice, beans, oil, salt and sugar, from World Concern. That night they prepared their first meal with their simple rations.

“The meal I had last night was the best I have had in a year,” she said. “I was satisfied. Even my first night here, life is so much better than it has been before.”

Thank you for helping feed hungry families like Marium's!


Families received vouchers to purchase supplies.
Families received vouchers to purchase supplies.

This week we provided emergency supplies to 100 families in Somalia displaced by the famine. When they left their homes and began walking in search of food and water, these families were only able to take with them what they could carry.

Imagine receiving some grain or beans, but having nothing to cook them in. Or finally arriving at a well and not having a container to collect water for your family.  

We’re providing things like cooking pots, blankets, soap, mosquito nets, jerrycans and more to families who are arriving in Dhobley, Somalia, near the Kenya border. One family we talked with had traveled 250 kilometers by foot over a period of several weeks. They had brought a few belongings, but half way through the journey, their donkey died. They were thankful to have some vital belongings replaced.

Families arriving in Dhobley receive vouchers from World Concern to purchase the items at shops in town. This supports the local economy (rather than bringing in goods from outside) and helps strengthen relationships with community leaders. The district commissioner expressed his gratitude and support for the way World Concern is working in Dhobley.

All of this is possible because of generous donors like you!

There are just a few days left in the Global Giving August Challenge for us to meet our $10,000 goal. We still need to raise a little over $2,000 – more would help us win bonus money to feed even more hungry families suffering in the Horn of Africa famine.

Thank you for your support of this life-saving project!

So grateful for help after walking for weeks.
So grateful for help after walking for weeks.
This boy is happy to have a cup to drink water.
This boy is happy to have a cup to drink water.


New pump being delivered.
New pump being delivered.

There is water in Damajale, Kenya today, bringing relief and smiles to the faces of thirsty children and families.

About a week ago, the only deep well in this village along the Kenya-Somalia border failed. The pump, 150 meters underground, was working round the clock and finally quit.

Damajale is one of many host communities that has seen a massive influx of refugees. In the past month, an additional 2,000 to 3,000 people have arrived here, having walked for days – even weeks – in search of food and water.

Fatuma, a mother of eight, was brought to tears when she realized there was no water. She had walked 30 kilometers through the night to Damajale to find only empty jerrycans stacked around the well.

“I struggle to stand here now, because I am so thirsty,” Fatuma said. "I don’t know when I will come back to my home. I may die on the way.”

World Concern is working in Damajale and other outlying host villages to get water and food to people there. Repairing and increasing the capacity of existing wells is one way we’re doing that. We were able to get a new pump flown in, and engineers worked through the night to fix the well.

Today, water is flowing from the well.

To those who have donated to the famine response, the chairman of the elders of Damajale says, “You have come and rescued us. May God bless you.”

Kids play in a dry trough.
Kids play in a dry trough.
Asli smiles because there is water!
Asli smiles because there is water!



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Organization Information

World Concern

Location: Seattle, WA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Joanne Felci
Seattle, Washington United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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