News Center

News from the Reed College public affairs office

Fighting for Somalia

By Nisma Elias '12 on April 11, 2012 02:38 PM

paapa.jpg

Reedies for Somalia held a fundraiser to help relieve the destructive famine ravishing the east African nation at Kaul auditorium last weekend, drawing roughly 100 supporters.

"Famine is declared when 2 in 10,000 people die each day," said Hamayoun Jamali, a representative of Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), who just returned from relief work in Africa. "In Somalia up to 15 children out of 10,000 die every day." He also said that even a few dollars could make a huge difference to the ongoing human disaster. For example, it costs $71 to support an average Somali family of seven or eight for an entire month.

Anthropology professor China Scherz lent her perspective on the famine, and Portland resident Mostafa Abdul Kadir recounted his dramatic escape from Somalia to the US through many trials and tribulations.

Paapa hMensa '15 performed three songs full of soulful melody and technically sophisticated rhythms. He was followed by a very energetic performance of the Dhaanto, the traditional Somali dance, by four members of the dance group Walaalaha Oregon and one eager Reedie from the audience. Shamsa Hussein of the Somalia Youth of Oregon recited a moving poem on the senseless terrorism in Somalia in the traditional Buraanbur style, which is a form of women's poetry sung in a distinctive, enchanting cadence.

The event raised approximately $1200 towards ending the starvation, disease and unsanitary conditions in Somalia, which will be donated to IRUSA. The efforts of this young group are truly commendable and we hope their humanitarian activism inspires Reed students and alumni to get involved in the issue.