Education International
Education International

Somalia: Humanitarian crisis puts schools at risk

published 23 September 2011 updated 28 September 2011

Reports from international aid organisations project that hundreds of thousands of Somali schoolchildren are expected to drop out from classes this month as a result of the humanitarian crisis in the country. EI’s affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), has called on the international community to provide the humanitarian aid needed to halt the advance of the apocalyptic ‘children’s famine’ spreading through Somalia and neighbouring nations in the Horn of Africa.

More than US$20 million is needed for emergency plans to help 435,000 children and 5,750 teachers return to school this year.

While commending the US administration for its efforts to improve the humanitarian crisis in the region – the United States has provided more than US$500 million in humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa – the AFT President, Randi Weingarten, pointed out that budget cuts proposed in Congress would reduce food assistance and significantly undermine relief efforts in Somalia.

“There should be no doubt that this effort is fundamental to our values as a nation,” Weingarten said. “It has the support of the American people, who care about those who suffer – particularly when they are children.”

The AFT is mobilising its members to write to their elected representatives in the US Congress to urge them to increase, not decrease, humanitarian aid for the Horn of Africa.

The full text of Randi Weingarten’s appeal to the U.S. President, Barack Obama, is available at http://go.aft.org/somalia.