ADRA workers see despair often.  It is in the eyes of a mother who cannot feed her children.  It is in the slumped shoulders of a man whose only means of supporting his family has been destroyed by a natural disaster.  It is in the fearful response of a child who has fled war and destruction.

Often we struggle with the sheer scale of the crises that we face.  The numbers are overwhelming.  800 million malnourished people.  663 million in need of clean water.  65.6 million refugees.  An average of $520 billion needed each year to recover from natural disasters.

The good news is that together we are making a difference.

Namana’s father is dead and her mother is old.  She is the youngest of four children.  Surviving in South Sudan was difficult.  The dangers of war were always near.  Her family raised cattle and grew sorghum.  The cattle could be sold in the Kapoeta market, a three day walk away.  The sorghum, supplemented with wild vegetables and fruit, enabled them to eat twice a day.

Then life became more of a struggle.  Three years ago her family’s cattle were lost in a raid.  Their only marketable assets were gone.  They continued to grow sorghum until this year’s drought blighted the crops.

To earn money they now cut down trees to make charcoal, which they sell in the Kapoeta market.  Sometimes they earn enough to have one meal of rice a day.  Sometimes they have nothing to eat all day.

Famines can be anticipated.  The signs are present long before an official declaration is made.  Crop failures, mass migrations of small scale farmers, increasing prices, increasing inaccessibility to hard-hit areas; ADRA and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank saw the signs and began to prepare.  Arrangements were made to purchase, transport, and distribute food to the people in the villages surrounding Kapoeta for three months.

Namana walked for three days to collect her allotment of sorghum, beans, oil, and salt*.  It should be enough to feed her family for a month, but we were not able to help everyone, so Namana will share with her relatives.  She hopes the food will last for more than a few days.

It may not seem like much, but to Namana’s family, it is meaningful.  Having food to replace that lost to the drought and the war is enough to replace the despair in their eyes with hope.

Your donations to the Disaster and Famine Relief Offering, the government matched Famine Relief Fund, and our Ration Meal Challenge make it possible for us to save lives like Namana’s.  Never doubt that your support is making a true difference.