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A few days ago, an Ethiopian woman named Tiki Gelana won the Women’s Olympic Marathon by running 26 miles in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 7 seconds. It’s an amazing story. According to the Associated Press, Tiki was knocked down by another runner and bloodied her elbow but pulled herself together to become the first to cross the finish line in the pouring London rain.
How do people achieve such physical feats? In the Olympics, inspiration and patriotism plays a major role. For, Maryam, who walked 186 miles carrying her starving child, Harun, to an SOS Medical Emergency Center in Somalia, it was likely a mixture of love and fear.
Last year SOS Children’s Villages fought a famine caused by drought in East Africa that affected millions of people like Maryam. Starvation and violence caused entire communities in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia to disperse and chase the hope of finding aid and medical care. Many families, pregnant women, and even orphaned children walked hundreds of miles through deserts to get help while SOS reached out to rescue as many of them as possible.
Earlier this year the UN declared the famine ended. The number of people dying has been reduced. However, the numbers of starving children, pregnant women in need of emergency medical care, and families living on the edge of disaster remain dangerously high. Our SOS Emergency Camps in Badbado and Baidoa are still running. Our SOS Hospital in Mogadishu, once evacuated to the field by violence in its community, hopes to reopen soon. Our Vocational Training program for nurses also expects to return to help more women and children in need.
Last year SOS was able to help tens of thousands of people like Maryam finish their treks and find salvation. This year the famine may not be official, but people are still racing against fate. You can help SOS Children’s Villages continue to provide the Emergency Programs that are saving children’s lives and keeping families together in East Africa, West Africa, South Sudan and more places where help is desperately needed.
In honor of the Olympic spirit, Maryam’s spirit, and the anniversary of a vast battle against disaster, please make a donation to support SOS now.
Thank you for supporting SOS Children’s Villages.
Lynn M. Croneberger
Chief Executive Officer
SOS Children’s Villages – USA