10 August 2012Turkish state and civil society groups have given nearly 555 million lira in aid to Somalia this year.
By Menekse Tokyay and Mahmoud Mohamed for SES Türkiye in Istanbul and Mogadishu -- 09/08/12
Halima Addo, a 46-year-old mother of six, is one of thousands of internally displaced Somalis who have seen their lives drastically improved by the aid of the Turkish Red Crescent.
"Every month, we receive what we need of dry foods such as grains, cooking oil, powder milk as well as basic services such as water and sanitation, healthcare and shelter," Addo, a resident of the Jazeera Life Tent City on the outskirts of war-torn Mogadishu, told SES Türkiye.
The camp, the second largest for displaced in Mogadishu, is made up of 2,500 tents and shelters for 15,600, according to estimates by the Turkish Red Crescent in Somalia. Turkish Red Crescent provides relief services and food aid to more than 26,000 displaced in several camps in the capital Mogadishu.
Since last August, the Turkish state and civil society groups have redoubled efforts in Somalia by providing nearly 555m lira ($311 million) in aid and infrastructure development.
During the month of Ramadan, the Turkish Red Crescent put a mobile food unit in Mogadishu into operation to provide Iftar meals [fast-breaking meals] of rice, pasta and meat to 10,000 people per day.
Turkish Red Crescent President Ahmet Lutfi Akar told SES Türkiye the goal of the new facility is to bring food to orphans, the elderly and the disabled who cannot physically make it to the tent city.
In addition to providing meals, the programme has also employed young Somalis who were without jobs.
Leila Osman is one of 21 people that are employed by the mobile kitchen programme. She told SES Türkiye that the programme has eased the suffering of displaced Somalis.
"The local employees distribute meals to those needy people that cannot reach the camps run by the Red Crescent, especially to the disabled and orphans," she said.
Suat Citlak, the head of the Turkish Red Crescent mission in Somalia, said that the mobile kitchen, the first of its kind, will expand to meet the continuing needs of Somalis.
"Distributing food rations and Iftar meals by the mobile kitchen to needy Somalis and those that are fasting [during Ramadan], are part of the efforts directed towards alleviating the suffering of the displaced," he said. "This programme will not end with the end of Ramadan but will continue beyond that as we will expand it to meet ongoing needs of displaced persons."
The Turkish Red Crescent also employs Somalis and provides vocational training as part of the aid programme.
"In all our enterprises, we are employing local personnel too. Around 200 Somalis have been employed thanks to Turkish Red Crescent. We also provided them with vocational training, thereby ensuring a long-term livelihood for 200 families," Akar said.
Fadumo Mudey, a 38-year-old mother of four who lives in the Jazeera Tent City, is one of dozens of displaced persons who have benefited from training.
"I have started doing business on a small scale inside the camp after receiving training on small-size business skills," she told SES Türkiye. "Some displaced people have also received [vocational] training to enable them to find jobs after they eventually leave this camp."