A Goat Brings Smiles Worth A Thousand Words

Goats.

Sometimes seen in a petting zoo, sometimes along the side of the road eating away at never-ending blackberry bushes.

They’re kind of small, with coarse, thick hair, and known for consuming just about anything.

You might even ask yourself: “What’s so great about goats?”

Mugo could tell you.

For Mugo and his family, a goat made all the difference in the world.

How a Goat Saved Mugo’s Family

After his mom died, Mugo’s dad was left alone to raise and care for seven young children, four little girls and three boys. His dad worked long, hard hours as a butcher, but was still not able to provide for all his children.

“We couldn’t afford shoes, clothes, and daily food to stay in school,” Mugo says.

But that all changed when Mugo received a goat.

A boy in Haiti receives two goats
Mugo holds the rope of the first goat he received.

Here’s what a single goat did for Mugo:

  1. A goat provided extra nutrition (from the goat milk) and income (from selling the milk).
  2. With extra income from the goat, children can afford to go to school and families like Mugo’s can put food on the table.
  3. Goats also reproduce quickly, so offspring can be kept for breeding or sold to another family in need.

The Ripple Effect of a Goat

Now, thanks to the income from his goat, Mugo dreams of going back to school and helping his dad provide for his six other siblings.

Mugo’s only in third grade, and at 16 years old, he’s more than a few years behind. With the money from raising a goat, however, Mugo will be able to return to school and continue his education when the next semester begins.

And he’s not keeping this gift to himself. After his goat gave birth to two baby goats, Mugo immediately thought of his friend from school.

“I’m happy to share my joy with one of my classmates, giving him one of two goats.”

Now Mugo’s friend (and family) will be able to reap the same benefits as Mugo’s family.  And so begins the ripple effect of a goat, changing lives one family at a time.

We heard from staff in Haiti that as Mugo was telling this story, he couldn’t stop smiling. Mugo’s joy and gratitude was so infectious it spread to everyone around him. Soon all the staff members and villagers were smiling, sharing in Mugo’s extraordinary happiness.

And did you know that you can give a goat to young boy or girl just like Mugo? Using World Concern’s Global Gift Guide, you can bless a child in need with a goat this Christmas.

Why Children in Somalia Have No Food

A field worker walks across the dry ground to a dust-covered tent. She crouches down next to a mother who, avoiding her gaze, holds up the arm of her little girl for measurement. Even before placing the plastic band around the girl’s stick-thin arm, the field worker knows severe malnourishment when she sees it. Starvation has taken hold of this child.

child arm measurement food crisis in Somalia
A boy’s arm measures in the red, indicating severe malnourishment.

Why is Somalia in a Food Crisis?

Somalia is experiencing a severe hunger crisis.

A short rainy season in 2016 led to a poor harvest, and the rains have not returned since. In some parts of Somalia it’s been two years since they’ve seen any rainfall. Without rain, the soil cannot support crops or grass to feed the livestock that herders depend on for their income and meals. Animals have died and food is scarce.

With years of crop failures and few livestock remaining, the cost of food has increased exponentially while the availability of food is decreasing at the same rate. The lack of available food creates high levels of food insecurity among the majority of the Somali population.

What’s World Concern Doing to Help in Somalia?

Without food and proper nutrition, children, especially the youngest ones, have not been able to grow and develop normally. Rural communities suffer the most, and many mothers are desperate to feed their starving children.

World Concern offers a simple and extremely effective solution for malnourished children in Somalia. A daily packet filled with a powerful peanut-based paste is saving lives.

One packet contains many of the vitamins, minerals, and vital nutrients a child needs to grow healthy and strong. The paste is also gentle enough that it will not cause pain or discomfort when a child, who has not had proper nutrition in months, begins to eat it.

From the moment a child begins to take an emergency nutrition packet once a day, her health begins to improve.

young girl eats nutripacket in Somalia
A little girl eats from a nutripacket in Somalia.

After a month of taking these packets, the changes in a child become more and more noticeable. Distended tummies begin to recede, small faces begin to fill out, and mothers aren’t woken up by the cries of their baby’s hunger during the night.

Due to the food crisis plaguing Somalia, kids need this nutrition immediately. If a child is severely malnourished for more than a month, their chance of making a full recovery diminishes. The good news is, help is available in these powerful nutripackets, which begin to work immediately.

Find out more about the hunger crisis in Somalia and save the life of a child today.

What You Need to Know About the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Noor, a young mom, gave birth on the run. A month later, her malnourished body cannot produce milk to feed her baby. Every day Abu, her baby, grows weaker. She tries to crush rice and mix it with water, but it’s not enough. Her other five children run around and drink from contaminated ponds. If Noor isn’t eating, her children aren’t either. 

Banu and her two children sleep in the town’s chicken coop, cramped between 30 other refugees. With no money to buy shelter materials, they have no other option. Banu’s one year-old is sick, but she cannot buy the medicine he needs.

rohingya refugee crisis camp
A refugee camp with makeshift shelters for families                                                          Photo courtesy of Medair

Conditions in the Rohingya refugee camps are dismal, with hundreds of thousands in need of help.  Families are without the necessities to live, with thousands more flooding in each day.

We are doing what we can for the Rohingya, but without increasing help from the international community, this is now the largest refugee crisis in the world.

World Concern is responding, but needs support in order to reach the Rohingya refugees in greatest need.

What is the Rohingya Refugee Crisis?

An ethnic group of about 1 million, the Rohingya people have lived in the Rakhine state of Myanmar for centuries.

Over the past few decades, the Rohingya began to suffer increasing persecution and violence. Without the ability to own land and seen as “illegal,” the Rohingya have little to no rights in Myanmar. At the end of August the violence escalated after a police and army base were attacked. Violence ensued, and families fled their homes in search of safety.

This mass exodus creates an enormous problem, as Bangladesh does not have enough support or resources to help this many people.

What’s Happening in the Rohingya Refugee Camps?

Lala is very thin, and very pregnant. Standing under three sticks of bamboo held together with twine, a team member asked, “When was the last time you had something to eat?” She responded, “Someone gave me a biscuit 24 hours ago.”

rohingya refugee mother in a camp
A Rohingya refugee mother with her starving baby                       Photo courtesy of Medair

Forced to flee with barely their lives, families have nothing. No food, clothes, shelter, or the ability to take care of themselves.

Temporary hospitals overflow with refugees suffering diarrhea, skin diseases, and gruesome wounds suffered during their escape.  Latrines are rare, adding to the already high risk of spreading deadly diseases. Families drink, wash, and bathe in ravines flowing with polluted water. Reports of trauma and shock are common, most all refugees having lost a family member or friend to violence.

“Three weeks ago, I had a husband and four children. Today, I have two children . . . my husband was decapitated. My house was burnt to the ground. While fleeing, I lost two of my children. I say I lost them because suddenly they were nowhere to be seen. I do not know if they are dead or alive.” – Selima, age 27.

rohingya refugee family
Selima and one of her surviving children                                     Photo courtesy of Medair

It’s difficult to reach families that live deep within the camps to provide emergency services and healthcare. With the sudden rush of refugees, official camps were not enough to house everyone, so makeshift camps sprung up along the border. The lack of planning, overcrowding, and poor hygiene make for a despairing situation for families in the camps.

Currently, the greatest needs in the camps on the Bangladesh – Myanmar border are:

  • Clean water and food
  • Sanitation
  • Permanent shelters
  • Safety for women

What is World Concern Doing in Bangladesh?

The World Concern team and our partners are providing hygiene kits and shelter materials to newly displaced families. As we’re able, we’ll reach more families and meet additional critical needs.

It is our mission to go to the hardest places, to serve the most marginalized populations, and to reach those who have yet to be reached. Rohingya refugee mothers and children are waiting, their hope and strength fading, for someone to come to their rescue.

If you would like to be part of the solution for Rohingya families, visit the World Concern website to learn more and give to the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Emergency Survival Supplies Can Save Lives in South Sudan

As I see report after report of the destruction caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, and flooding, my thoughts turn to the crisis in South Sudan.

The images are chillingly similar. A woman stands amid the wreckage of her home in Houston, knee deep in water. A child in South Sudan stands beside a tarp upheld by a few sticks, wading in muddy water.

When disaster strikes at home, we can count on aid workers and our local government to provide shelter, food, and clean water. In places like South Sudan, none of these provisions are available.

Food, clean water, even the ability to close the front door to my home are all things I take for granted. Can you imagine living with no walls, no door – not even a bathroom to use in private?

After her home was burned to the ground during an outbreak of violence in her village, Gisma gathered her children and followed the path millions of South Sudanese walked (or ran) before her: to a camp for displaced families.

Gisma now sleeps on a rough sack underneath a ragged piece of canvas barely big enough for her to stretch out her legs. Her children can no longer stay with her for fear they will be swept away by the torrential rain that pours outside her tent.

woman displaced by crisis in South Sudan
Gisma sits under a makeshift shelter in a camp for displaced families.

“My legs are in pain, but I have no other option, I have to stay here . . . if the rain comes, I just have to endure,” grieves Gisma.

With no hope of regaining her home, finding food, or ensuring her own safety, Gisma’s circumstances can turn deadly at any moment.

It’s situations like Gisma’s where emergency survival supplies can make the difference between life and death.

What’s Included In World Concern’s Emergency Survival Supplies?

“What can I eat? What can I cover myself with?” Gisma asks herself each morning.

For people without the necessities for survival, World Concern steps in to provide kits stocked with food and other much-needed supplies. Each item received serves a specific purpose to meet the needs of moms and kids who have nothing.

Seeds to Harvest

a man in South Sudan receives seeds to plant

South Sudan has little to no supportive economy. That being said, agriculture and farming are nonexistent, one of the many results of the crisis. Even if mothers like Gisma had the resources to buy food, sky-high prices and food shortages would make it impossible.

Seeds to plant for the next harvest provide solutions not only for the present, but long-term development as well.

Shelter

woman in South Sudan receives emergency supplies
A mom in South Sudan receives emergency shelter supplies.

Many in the camps, like Gisma, live under makeshift shelters. A crucial element of the emergency supply kit, shelter materials such as tarps, rope, and tents provide additional protection from the rains and privacy.

Blanket and Sleeping Mat

Believe it or not, it gets cold at night in South Sudan. Blankets and a sleeping mat not only provide a clean place for families to lay their heads, but warmth and comfort when the temperature drops.

Clean Water and Water Cans

a sustainable source of clean water in South Sudan
Clean water for families in South Sudan.

Even during the rainy season, clean, safe drinking water is scarce. Children drink from dirty ponds, not knowing that doing so will lead to parasitic worms, or other deadly water-borne diseases. Access to safe drinking water, collected with the help of water cans, helps prevent disease and dehydration.

Mosquito Nets

Without a home families sleep exposed to mosquitoes. The rainy season spreads disease as standing water accumulates, serving as a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Mosquito nets protect children and their families from bites that can lead to malaria.

“I hope I can take [my children] into a world of hope, a good future, and development,” Gisma prays.

That’s my hope for Gisma and the many others displaced in South Sudan, too.

But until then, emergency supplies help bridge the gap while they wait for peace to come.

Learn more about the crisis in South Sudan and give emergency survival supplies here to save a family.