Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Students bring hope for Somalia

The Schilling Center was filled with students, Friday, Sept. 9, to raise awareness and hope for the Somalian people at the Horn of Africa concert.

Singing for change — Liberty student Joy Lippard performed at the Horn of Africa Event, saying she was hoping to not only entertain, but to learn more about the issues affecting Somalia. Photo credit: Jaja Hsu

In July of this year, the United Nations declared a famine in Somalia, which is located on the east coast in a region known as the Horn of Africa.

Somalia has been suffering from a drought for the last six months, forcing thousands of Somalis to leave and find refuge in neighboring countries. Suzzane O’Dell, online community manager for World Help, said in her July 25th blog post that the United Nations reported “over 11 million people in the Horn of Africa are in desperate need of food, water and medical care.”

Recent reports posted on World Help’s website stated that “More than 30,000 children under the age of five have perished in the last 90 days in southern Somalia alone,” and that number has risen to an estimated total of 90,000 for the entire region.

Members of World Help and Liberty University’s student body put together a concert that would spread the news of the situation in Somalia. The event was to inform the Liberty student body about what World Help is doing to provide aid. The goal of World Help is to send 40-foot long containers that hold 240,000 meals, along with water and medical supplies. Each container, however, costs $6,000 to send, but they are guaranteed to reach the Somali refugees and others in need.

Alumna Jessica Cockran, class of 2011 and employee of World Help, said the concert had a threefold purpose, “To educate people, move them to compassion and provoke them to action.”

It was that one word, compassion, which set a fire in people’s hearts to act and provide aid to those suffering in Somalia. Even though there is a need for funds to be raised, the utmost important need is awareness. “This generation can make a difference with their voice,” Cockran said. “Showing compassion is a living testimony of who God is.”

The concert included performances from students and other artists. Other performers included Liberty junior Joy Lippard, local Lynchburg artist Paul Davidson and Taylor Holder, an employee of World Help who said she “hoped the students would be moved to action without apathy and complacency.”

“As Americans, we are naïve and comfortable,” Liberty student and performer Gabe Hernandez said.

“Raising awareness and stirring people’s hearts to be compassionate about the situation in Somalia was the desired overall outcome of the event,” volunteer and junior Alyssa Hammond said.

If you would like to learn more about or be updated on the situation in Somalia, visit www.worldhelp.net and search the blog postings.

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