FAMINE IN EAST AFRICA
As with all rapid response assemblies, you will need to update this assembly prior to use.
Suitable for Whole School
To reflect on the situation in the Horn of Africa.
Preparation and resources
Reader 1 (girl): My name is Efia. I have been walking for six weeks with my mother from our home in Somalia. There has been a war there for as long as we can remember and, year by year, food has become more difficult to find. So now we have come to a camp in Kenya for food and water. It was a very long walk. I am very hungry. My baby brother died on the way, and we are all very sad.
- Reader 2 (boy): My name is Ewku. I have been here in the camp for a month now. It is very good here – there is food and water, although the conditions are very cramped. Someone said that there are nearly ten times more people here than the camp was built for, but where I was living in Somalia, we had no food. Our animals all died because it hasn’t rained for two years. The price of food is too much for my mother and father. My mother walked here with me and my five brothers and sisters, but she couldn’t carry us all, so she walked three times, each time bringing two of us children here. While she was gone, other people cared for us, and we waited for her to return with our baby brothers and sisters. Now, she is very sick from walking so much without food and water.
- Adult aid worker: I work in this camp with Save the Children, an international charity. We have been working in this area of Africa for many years. Because there has been a war in Somalia for twenty years now, many aid workers had to leave – it is very dangerous there. But Save the Children stayed, and so we were able to anticipate the disaster that you see on your news programmes and websites.
Thousands of people, especially children, need food and water. But this time, we have taken a slightly different approach.
Usually, we give out food packets from the West. This time, we are trying to buy food from local traders too, so that money goes to them, as well as food to the starving. This means they have a better market place for their food, as well as staying in business for when the situation gets better. And it also means that the people who need to get fresh food – and you know how much better that is for you!
- How can we help?
(Your school might proactively organize fund-raising, and mention those initiatives here.)
Obviously, you might like to give some money to Save the Children or one of the other charities that is working in north-east Kenya with the refugees.
The lack of rain in East Africa may be partly caused by global warming, and we know what we can do to help there. Try not to waste any form of fuel and cut down on the ways in which we contribute to the problem. (Illustrate from your own school.)
And you might like to think about buying Christmas cards from charities that help in East Africa. I know it’s months until Christmas, but I bet some of your homes will get Christmas card catalogues arriving through the post over the summer holidays. Ask your parents to think about buying from a charity rather than straight from one of the shops – every little helps!
Time for reflection
Light a candle and show some of the pictures from Africa.
Let’s think about some of the stories that we’ve heard this morning.
Think about all those children, walking for weeks to find food and water.
Think about the families that have been broken up along the way.
Play the music.
For church schools
Many years ago, a man called David felt that life was very bad. This is the poem that he wrote:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff –
they comfort me.
Even though David was in the depths of despair, he knew that God still cared about him. We know that God loves those people in Africa – but he needs our help to save them.
We know that our world is fragile.
We know that people suffer when the balance of the world changes.
So we think of the aid workers,
and all those helping the people of East Africa as they walk to find food.
Help us to be better stewards of the earth,
so that the balance might be restored and the rains return to Africa.
Song and music
‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)
‘Fragile’ by Sting, widely available to download.
‘Rain in Africa’ by Enya, widely available to download.