07/01/09 - Somalia’s insurgent attacks against the government had let up in early 2009, but since May have resumed in parts of the capital, Mogadishu, and beyond. On June 18th, a suicide bomber killed Somalia’s Security Minister and at least 30 other people in a town 150 miles north of Mogadishu. This was the deadliest suicide bomb attack in the country.
Nearly 170,000 Mogadishu residents have been displaced from their homes since May. Many more are fleeing south from the capital, carrying children and household items on their backs.
The African Union has 4,300 peacekeepers in Mogadishu, but their effect is limited. They are under constant attack by insurgents who want to dislodge the government.
SOS Children’s Village On Ground to Help Vulnerable Children
SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest charity providing homes to orphaned and abandoned children, has been operating in Somalia since 1985. Local staff have been risking their lives to protect vulnerable children and families at SOS-Mogadishu since the onset of Somalia’s civil war in 1991.
Somalian boy impacted by turmoil
The SOS Children’s Village at Mogadishu currently cares for 64 children. SOS families moved back to the village in February 2009 after being relocated to other parts of the city for more than a year due to safety concerns. The families were reinstated because the security situation had improved and army troops had pulled out of the area.
The current fighting in the capit0al has not directly affected the SOS village. But the situation is precarious. SOS-Mogadishu village leaders have contingency plans in place in case they need to move again.
SOS School and Hospital Open For Now
The SOS school attached to the Children’s Village in Mogadishu reopened in March. Its 470 primary and secondary students are working hard to make up for the two months lost when the school was closed. The violence has hit close to home. One student was killed the day before an exam. The next morning, the students showed up anyway. “They are hungry to learn,” said Musa Dugow, the school principal. The SOS kindergarten principal was kidnapped on June 16th, and released four days later.
The SOS hospital, the only functioning maternity and emergency pediatric unit in the country, is operating normally. Two overseas Somali physicians are doing an extraordinary job of providing medical services to vulnerable women and children.
To help a Somali child find safety and security in the midst of great uncertainty, consider sponsoring an SOS child.