Hadija in front of her new shelter

Surviving the drought: Hadija's Story

Before the drought in Somalia, Hadija Jele Ali could adequately provide for her family's needs with their herds of goats, sheep, and cows.

But the prolonged drought and famine that hit that country devastated Hadija's family and livelihood by wiping out their livestock, forcing them to flee their home to find help.

"My family depended on livestock," she said. "I had about 115 goats, a couple of sheep and 57 cows before the drought took them away. I used to take care of my family with those herds, but now I have none. My children almost died of hunger."

To survive, they moved to a camp for internally displaced people to seek aid. That's where they received help from Canadian Lutheran World Relief through the Humanitarian Coalition, with support from the Government of Canada.

"I had to leave my home to look for aid, where I could at least sustain the family," Hadija said, adding that at the camp she received things like shelter, soap and other household items.

Along with that assistance, at the camp the family had access to food, health programs, nutrition, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. Additionally, there were programs aimed at building community resilience to climatic and other shocks.

"I am grateful," she said.

Hadija and her family were among the millions in Somalia who face the challenge of a long-term drought that led to extreme hunger, displacement, and inequity that caused many once-thriving families to the brink of survival, compelling them to abandon their traditional livelihoods and seek refuge in camps and urban centres.

Together with its members, the Humanitarian Coalition raised more than $5 million in June 2023 for people like her in East Africa--donations that were matched by the Government of Canada for a total of over $10 million in aid.