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Suffering in Somalia: Jawahir's Story



Suffering in Somalia: Jawahir's Story
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.97

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    equate, sleep-away, unclean, warfare, provided, difficulty, malnutrition, unhealthy, rates, cholera, diarrhea, camps, opposition, lies, malnourished, ongoing
     content words:    When Jawahir, Indian Ocean, United States, Family Relief Kits


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Suffering in Somalia: Jawahir's Story
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Jawahir temporarily lives in a camp. No, it's not a campground filled with recreational vehicles. It's not a sleep-away camp for children during summer vacation. Instead, it is a camp that is an emergency shelter for Jawahir, his mother, and his siblings. It is meant to give his family some food, water, and a place to sleep. When Jawahir arrived at the camp, his family was exhausted and starving. His brother needed emergency medical help.
 
2     Jawahir lives in Somalia. Somalia is a country on the continent of Africa. It lies east of Ethiopia. It borders the Indian Ocean. If you wanted to equate its size to something in the United States, the entire nation of Somalia is roughly a little smaller than the state of Texas. According to the CIA FactBook, there are about 10 million people who live in Somalia. That number is probably not exact. It is hard to obtain an exact number of people because many of the people are nomads and refugees who move around a great deal seeking help because of the terrible famine and clan warfare in Somalia. Often families are forced to leave with barely a moment's notice.
 
3     Much of the fighting involves which group will lead the country and where different borders lie for control. Fighting is especially difficult in the capital of Mogadishu. There is an incredible amount of violence between the government and opposition forces. Very often the women and children leave to escape the violence while the men remain to fight. This often leaves families such as Jawahir's looking for food, water, shelter, and health care.
 
4     In some places in Somalia, camps receive help from organizations such as UNICEF. The camps are often temporary huts of twigs and clothing. UNICEF aid workers try to truck in water and food to the camps. Over three million liters of water are needed in some areas each day. Water is life to all people, but especially those at the camps. If water is not brought in, some places would have no running water at all. In other places people can get very sick because they have no clean water. In crowded conditions such as these camps, diseases can spread quickly. If people have no clean water, they will suffer from diarrhea again and again. Cholera, an increasing concern in Somalia, is an example of one disease spread in unclean water.
 
5     The same is true with the bathroom situation. Some camps have no latrines. Once again diseases can easily spread. UNICEF aid workers try to teach the people at the camps how to build latrines. They also try to get soap to the people at the camp to help people keep clean. When available, Family Relief Kits are also distributed. These include blankets, cans for holding water, soap, mosquito nets, and cooking sets.

Paragraphs 6 to 11:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable


Extended Activities:

1.  Research the fighting in Somalia. Write one page describing the situation.

2.  Look up Somalia in an encyclopedia or on a map. Draw an outline of the country.

3.  Parts of Somalia suffer from severe flooding. Find out why.

4.  Find out what UNICEF is. How does it help children?



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