Monthly Archives: September 2011

A Hungry Child Can’t Wait: Ask 5 for 5

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5

Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Kanga Creative and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can’t wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we’ll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren’t so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world’s first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond–or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity’s baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don’t do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn’t want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother’s hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya–the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, “I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm.” The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. “We don’t have enough food now…our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues.”

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on–in nine generations of 5x5x5…we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to
help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support,
healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It’s so so simple; here’s what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (http://seeyourimpact.org/members/ask5for5)
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!

I’m looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at ask5for5@gmail.com if you’re interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn’t wait. She doesn’t wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn’t wait for us to decide if she’s important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on…please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped–you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don’t move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you’re life is busy like mine, you probably won’t get back to it later. Let’s not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let’s leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!

Advertisements

Putting the call out for craft supplies!

While volunteering in Tanzania, East Africa, in 2009-10 I learnt the value of giving a hand up rather than a hand out. In a developing country like this one, there is no such thing as government assistance, free health care or free education, so having some kind of potentially money earning skills is incredibly important.
I have since returned to settle in Renmark, South Australia. I am enjoying living here and have met some wonderful people, but Africa is calling me again so I am returning for a very short trip in October with my one year old baby, with a longer trip planned for next year.
While I am there next month I have organised to hold craft workshops in the village of Sinon, just outside the busy, dusty, sometimes crazy town of Arusha, Tanzania. I will be putting into practise the theory of giving a hand up, by teaching disadvantaged mamas from food water shelter some new eco-friendly skills such as using old magazines to create unique bowls and beads, and using small otherwise useless fabric scraps to create vibrantly coloured patchwork bags and cushions, with the intent of then selling their creations at the local tourist market.

With access to the supplies needed, these mamas will be able to potentially generate an income from otherwise wasted resources. This is were I need your help! I am looking for donations of craft supplies, new or used, such as small scissors (for cutting paper), clear plastic rulers, pens (any colour), toothpicks, small paintbrushes, velcro, pins, pincushions, and small bottles of PVA glue (unopened). Any donations of these supplies (or even cash for me to buy them when I get there to save me carrying it all) will be very much appreciated, so if you have anything lying around that you can spare, please contact me at kangacreative@gmail.com . Asante sana! (that’s swahili for thank you very much!)



I am going to Africa, so I need to have a sale!

Next month I will be heading off to Tanzania for a short trip with my baby (not such a little baby anymore though, the pic is an old one – he will be one soon!). I am very excited about it, but now that it is booked and I am starting to get organised, I am also starting to panic a little! My credit card needs to be paid, and I haven’t budgeted for accommodation yet. So I am having a sale, I would really love to clear out all of my stock before I go, and then start fresh when I get back. I am hoping to bring some gorgeous fabrics back with me, so they will provide me with inspiration for new things for my madeit shop.  

upcycling old magazines…

I’ve been given a pile of old magazines, so I’m getting crafty! After going through them to cut out pictures to stick in a little book for my bub, I began experimenting. First up I made some beads. I first seen this type of bead in Africa, and they are surprisingly easy to make. I have found that one magazine page makes about 24 beads, quite a lot really! Here is the link to the tutorial by Mzuri Beads¬†http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Paper-Beads/.


Next I tried a magazine paper bowl which I have seen in a couple of different places. This obviously used a lot more paper, and was very messy! It is surprisingly strong and hard wearing though, and the best thing is it won’t break when dropped. Perfect for having around at the moment, my babies latest thing is to swipe everything off tables onto the ground with his arm! I think I need to keep practising with the bowls to see if I can make them neater, and also to try and make a wider, flatter baby proof dish for my coffee table. This is a tutorial for a simliar bowl:¬†http://crabandfish.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/diy-decorative-bowl-from-old-magazines.html