Will 2012 be a better year for drought victims?

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2011 has been a tough year for the millions of people affected by the terrible drought and food shortages across the Horn of Africa. It has been estimated that up to 100,000 people dies between April and August as a result of the crisis.

emerge poverty free launched its appeal in June and has had 2 further follow up appeals since. At a time when many here are suffering financial hardship, the response of our supporters has been amazing and we have been able to save thousands of lives through our feeding centres in Turkana.

You can still give to the appeal by clicking here . But first you may want to read more about our plans in the area for 2012.

emerge poverty free does not just work to relieve disasters. We work in the long-term, fighting poverty, so that the vulnerable are better able to help themselves in the future.

Our operation is based in the villages of Lokichoggio, Kakuma and Lochore Edome which have been particularly badly hit by the drought. The people in in these villages (known as the Turkana) are pastoralists but the drought has decimated their herds and now they live in terrible poverty.

As well as providing emergency feeding we have been researching what can be done to help in the long term. One fact that has emerged is that 95% of adults are illiterate and just 30% of school aged children are in any form of education.

Education might seem a luxury in the face of a food crisis but it is precisely this lack of education that leaves the Turkana vulnerable. Without education they cannot adapt their lifestyle and so remain trapped in crushing poverty.

So why do the majority of Turkana children not attend school?

On a recent visit to a feeding centre our Chief Executive, Alex Haxton, met a young mother of two, Kafukou, who explained.

“First we need enough to eat,” she told me. “In order for us to survive my children must collect and sell firewood or beg for food. I would love for my children to go to school. I do not want them to have to live in the dirt when they are older. But how can I send them to school when they will have nothing to eat if they go?”

Local schools provide free education but cannot provide food as well, so in 2012 emerge poverty free is going to start a feeding programme through these schools. This is a really effective way of helping vulnerable children because not only will we be providing food, we will also be helping children return to school, or in many cases to attend for the very first time.

This stability and hope for the future is so important to young children living in a disaster zone.

We are making plans now and our project managers are reviewing funding to see how many children we can afford to fund with this vital programme.

Can you help us by making a donation of just £8 now?

For every person that is able to donate £8 today we will be able to provide a daily meal to a child at school for 2 weeks.

You can easily see that if enough supporters like yourself respond then we will be in a position to help a great many children, not only to eat but also to go to school.

This is such an effective way to help, it really will make a huge difference but only if enough people respond to this appeal. Make 2012 a better year for the children of Turkana.

A donation of £8 today will mean a better future for children in 2012. Instead of facing starvation they will be able to attend school and learn to read and write. What a difference this will make!

Please donate now by clicking here.