DESPERATE NEED – Pictured here is a young mother feeding her malnourished child. In Somalia a devastating famine has taken lives of tens of thousands of children since July.

Former Red Deerian feeds nearly 100,000 in Somalia

Amanda Lindhout continues her plight in famine-stricken country

Former journalist turned humanitarian Amanda Lindhout recently fed 25,000 people in two days in the plight of famine-stricken Somali.

Lindhout, formerly of Central Alberta, launched the first distribution of emergency food aid into Somalia via her organization the Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF) this past summer. Since then, she has helped raise $1.5 million and with that amount the GEF will feed over 300,000 people.

Her latest food convoy took place on Dec. 25th and 26th in Mogadishu.

The former Red Deerian was held captive in Somalia in 2008 for over 15 months, but continues to return to the country where she suffered to help those who have been affected by the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the United Nations.

“When I heard that the UN expected 750,000 Somali people to die from famine by the end of 2011, as the executive director of an organization dedicated to supporting the Somali people, I knew we had to act.

“What I saw in the Dadaab refugee camp, the tens of thousands of Somalis who had fled their beloved homeland in search of food was heartbreaking. Starving mothers and their nearly dead children left an impression on my heart that will always remain.

“And while many of the largest international aid organizations were delayed in their response to the emergency by the complicated political environment in Somalia and the powerful terrorist groups who control much of the country, I decided to lead my organization to action.”

The Convoy For Hope, which distributes food to those in need and was spearheaded by Lindhout, has been continuously rolling out since last August. So far the Convoy has fed over 85,000 Somalis and has vowed to feed at least 300,000 more.

On Lindhout’s first journey back to the country in July with the organization she founded, The Global Enrichment Foundation, she spearheaded the Convoy For Hope. It was the first food distribution truck crossed the boarder into Somalia with Lindhout and a small team from Nairobi. For the first time since she was freed from captivity, Lindhout stepped foot in Somalia on Aug. 4 as the convoy entered the country. Food baskets were handed out to more than 14,000 people affected by famine.

With her second Convoy For Hope, Lindhout and her organization were able to distribute food to 25,000 people. The third Convoy For Hope took place from Sept. 28-30 and fed another 25,000 in Mogadishu, Somalia.

“I have a responsibility to help these people. I have seen the face of hunger. Food is needed inside of Somalia.”

Lindhout continues to do much good in Somalia and looks to the Central Alberta community for help.

“The last year and half have been the busiest of my entire life – creating development programs to advocacy and fundraising,” she explains. “The work of the GEF is my life’s purpose.

“It is a great gift to wake up each morning and know exactly why I was born and what I am here to do. I am driven by the vision of a peaceful Somalia, and it is something I have dedicated my life to.”

She said the intensity and the severity of the famine is on her mind every second of each day. And she’s thankful for whatever folks here at home can do to help.

For more information or to donate to the Global Enrichment Fund and the Convoy of Hope visit www.globalenrichmentfoundation.com.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com