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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Three clubs unite to raise awareness for Somali famine

Published: October 13, 2011
Section: Features

Everyday the world is becoming more connected. The explosion of social media has equipped any valid e-mail address owner with an interactive tool not only to learn about issues of international crisis through clicking on links posted by friends, but also to have their voice heard on the issue—transforming from student to activist with the click of a button. While technology has allowed people to see into once obscure corners of the world, they must not forget that knowledge of a crisis is simply the first step in being able to help. Additionally, it is important to remember that with activism, there is tremendous power in numbers.

Riding on this ideology, members of Positive Foundations, Girl Effect and the Justice League will be holding a 24-Hour Famine on Oct. 15 in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium in remembrance of those who have died from famines in Somalia. During the last three months more than 30,000 children have died from starvation and, without immediate assistance, more than 160,000 more children will likely die.

Friday night at 6 p.m. keynote speaker Will Fenten from Oxfam International, an organization focused on ending poverty and injustice, will speak about the famine. Fenten will be followed by an advocacy workshop, led by Cynthia Tschampl from RESULTS, a grassroots non-profit organization also focused on poverty relief.

In addition, there will be 24-hour famine t-shirt designing contest, a $3 henna sale through Henna for Humanity and a candlelight vigil in honor of the victims.

Saturday will consist of team-building activities, case studies of previous international famines and, at 4:30 p.m., a panel discussion facilitated by Brandeis professors. At 6 p.m. Saturday there will be a post-famine feast supplied by Mango Thai and a reflection of the whole event.

Monetary donations will be accepted, as well as non-perishable food items collected throughout the 24-hour period. Canned foods will be donated to the Waltham Food Pantry, while money will go to MADRE, an organization working to provide meals directly to Somalian families in need.