—Cindy McCain talks to refugees at the Dadaab camp
Today I am really excited to share with you a woman and her vision who has recently captivated me. I know as women we can get lost in so many good things right in front of us and miss the extreme needs of others around the world. She is helping to make it possible for those of us overwhelmed with kids and work and carpool to get involved in some way. Shayne Moore is the author of Global Soccer Mom and is the founder of a ONE Moms birthed out of Bono's ONE movement.
Recently, ONE Moms hosted a call with Cindy McCain, wife of senator John McCain. Mrs. McCain has recently returned from seeing firsthand the reality of the famine in the Horn of Africa and joined our call with other mothers to add her voice and her perspective to the crisis.
The call was a conversation, really. Moms from all over the country took an hour out of their busy day to participate and listen to Cindy’s report. It was an honest, vulnerable and moving interaction of mothers trying to brainstorm ways we can join other mothers in this unthinkable crisis.
“I can’t imagine having to leave a starving child by the side of the road to die in order to save my other children. As mothers, what do we do with this?” asked Mrs. McCain. She then admitted, “I don’t know exactly what the answer is, but I do know the answer is not to sit back and let a generation of children go on like this.”
I learned in our ONE Moms call that Dabaab, the refugee camp Mrs. McCain visited, has been there for almost 20 years due to the political unrest in Somalia — with no end in sight. As an educated woman I was troubled I was unaware. I also did not know Dabaab is really not a camp, but more like a city anticipated to grow to 500,000 people by the end of the year. On top of that, the famine has spread beyond this refugee camp and now an estimated 750,000 people are at risk of starvation.
Mrs. McCain explained, “What we are witnessing is a mass of humanity running for their lives.”
With drought and famine hitting the region this dust bowl city has become a death camp. And as with any major humanitarian crisis it is women and children who bear the brunt. Mrs. McCain relayed with clarity and pain the experience of visiting a one-year-old baby weighing 12 pounds -– only to realize that was no baby but rather a four-and-a-half-year-old child.
ONE Moms discussed that this crisis needs a long-term solution and until that day comes what is needed now is getting micro-nutrients to infants and toddlers. Education. The ability to plant food and feed themselves. The right to move about freely. Women and children require safety and security from the very real threats of living in the extreme conditions of poverty and famine.
So what are we to do? This is the question raised by Mrs. McCain and the question that echoes in my head when I read the headlines. This crisis is a world away. What can I do as a mom from the Midwest?
As ONE Moms we can join our voices together and put pressure on our own government and on the international community to make this crisis a priority. We can sign petitions and we can support the rays of hope on the ground -– the amazing humanitarian organizations who have been there since day one and who struggle to keep this population fed and alive such as CARE, GAIN, Oxfam, World Vision, and the World Food Programme.
To join the ONE Moms movement visit our page and join our conversation on twitter at #ONEMoms.