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A displacement camp where hunger lives

28 November 2023, Impact of Our Work

“It’s due to the drought that prices of food have gone high, and we can’t afford it.”

It reads like a litany of disasters:

“There is no rain at all.” 
“The drought is everywhere.” 
“There is famine everywhere.”

Thirty-year-old mum Casho is talking about conditions in the displacement camp in Somalia where she lives with her children. 

First families like that of Casho fled drought and violence from ongoing conflict, but recently intense flooding has inundated parts of Somalia and forced people out of their homes. As families flee from severe weather events and conflict, they move to displacement camps, where deadly hunger stalks them every day. 

Families are feeling the pressure to find new ways to earn a living to feed their children. With the global shortage of grain, food prices are soaring. 

In this tough condition, it’s usually the smallest of children who are affected by acute malnutrition.

In her home in Puntland, Somalia, Casho fears for her malnourished baby.

The youngest children are most affected

Casho’s youngest child Aaden suffered from severe acute malnutrition. “My child was so weak and had diarrhoea,”  she says.

Fearful for her baby’s life, Casho brought Aaden to the Save the Children nutrition stabilisation clinic which treats children, mostly under five years old, who are malnourished. 

In this clinic Aaden received free treatment with a special kind of milk formula and therapeutic peanut paste called Plumpy Nut. It’s a life-saving intervention made possible by the support of donors.

With this treatment, a child struggling against severe acute malnutrition can start to recover. Their immune system becomes stronger and can protect against illnesses and infection. 

Casho was relieved that Aaden recovered after the treatment. “He got better. Now he walks around ... He is much better than before,”  she says. 

Now [Aaden] is good, he is toddling around.

Casho, Somali mum

At a Child Friendly Space, Ladan participates in activities that help her learn.

Finding hope when children’s futures are at stakes

The displacement camp, where Casho and her children live, is full of people who have moved from the main town or outside villages due to drought or conflict. Unemployment is rife. In this bleak environment, Casho is hoping for a brighter future for her children. 

With the help of supporters, Save the Children runs a Child Friendly Space where Casho’s 10-year-old daughter Ladan attends. Here children participate in weekly play and learning sessions on topics like drawing, reading and writing. The Child Friendly Space also has lots of toys, like skipping ropes, balls, and building blocks, so children can make friends and have fun. 

“The Child Friendly Space is good for the kids because it keeps them learning something. I just want them to learn something and benefit from there,”  Casho says. 

I want [Ladan] to have a bright future. I want her to be a teacher.

Casho, Somali mum

For Ladan, the Child Friendly Space is where she could take back her childhood. She shares, “I like rope jumping, learning, and seesawing at the Child Friendly Space. I draw things. I like drawing tree leaves, cars, houses, and trees. We have been taking lessons.” 

With the help of donors, Casho’s children can have a brighter future.

Help hungry children like Aaden and Ladan

As conflict affects places like Somalia and now Gaza, more children like Aaden and Ladan are growing desperately hungry and are paying the heaviest price for the ongoing violence. If weapons don’t kill children, without essential supplies, hunger will. You can help a child survive hunger, and help them to grow, develop and reach their full potential.

Photos: Mustafa Saeed/Save the Children.

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