Friday, January 18, 2008

Issues Affecting African Children #3: Food Shortages in West Africa-- Please Donate!

In a continent still largely fed by subsistence farming, anything can affect the availability of food. This article discusses the consequences of the late start and early end to the rainy season in 2007 is already being felt in West Africa. Rising food prices due to food shortages are beginning. Aid agencies are already being called on to avert hunger crises across the region. Of course, it is the poorest who are hit hardest by such disasters, and who knows when and if aid will come. So many places in the world need aid, and it often doesn't arrive until the pictures of children like scarecrows begin to grace our televisions.

Nana Esi, my host sister, age 4, is on the left. Adjoa, an orphan from New Life, age 3 1/2, is on the right.

This is an issue that strikes me deeply. It is in an area where those I know and love will be affected, which makes it more real to me. I picture my children's faces, many of them already too skinny and affected by malnutrition, if not starvation, and worry what this will do to them. I remember when I took my well-off, well-fed host siblings to the orphanage and discovered with shock how small and thin the orphans really were. For many of them, this started long before they ever came to the orphanage, and they certainly are better fed there than they would be in many other places. But they are my children, the children of my heart if not my womb, and the thought that their little bodies might suffer more than they already have makes me...afraid.

And so, I will do what many of them have already done at such an early age on the streets of Ghana: beg. Please, if you have the means, and maybe even if you feel you don't, please donate by clicking on the Donate button on the right. All donations go directly to the children pictured and talked about here. People often mention that "for the price of a cup of coffee..." I don't much care about the price of a cup of coffee. I care about my children, and I beg for your help to keep them fed and well-- whether it's the price of a cup of coffee, or less, or more.

Nana Esi, right, age 4. Comfort, left, an orphan from New Life, age 8. Such are the effects of malnutrition.

(All donations are made to Families for Children International securely through PayPal, and are tax deductible. )


I just wanted to clarify a few things on this post. Donations made will not go to handouts that do little in the long run. FFCI's goals are to help children and the organizations that support them become self-sufficient. Famine, food shortages, and rising prices are not new in Africa, and they will continue. We use our funds for projects such as square foot gardening, chicken raising, and micro-enterprises such as soap making. Some of these have already been started at New Life, and need a little boost. We are planning to implement them at Sankofa and FFCI as well with our summer volunteer groups. These projects help provide food and income to the children and the orphanages, and this news of food shortages and rising prices means a harder year ahead for West Africans. Our plan has always included these projects, and the need has become more urgent. Please help us create a self-sustaining environment for these children!

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