International Rescue Committee (IRC)

A Somali mother dies so her children can live

When Abdallah Ibrahim Jare, his wife Ishan and their four young children set out on foot on the 25-day trek from their home in Somalia to Kenya, Abdallah had no idea of the nightmare that lay ahead of him. Fifteen days into their journey, 30-year-old Ishan died.

“She was hungry,” Abdallah said. “She was giving her food to the children.”

Abdallah buried Ishan with the help of other people who were walking with them from their drought-ravaged homeland to find food and shelter in a refugee camp.  He decided to continue on.  “It was very painful,” he said, “one of the most difficult and painful times in my life.”

Abdallah set out once again, confused and worried about how he was going to raise the children on his own.  “I’m still worried about the little ones,” he said.

Abdallah’s younger children have not asked about their mother, but his oldest daughter does ask about her.  Abdallah says that Ishan was not sick before they left Somalia. “If she had enough food and medicine she would not have died,” he explained.

An IRC health worker measures the upper arms of Abdallah's children to check for malnourishment
An IRC health worker measures the upper arms of Abdallah's children as he checks for signs of severe malnourishment. (Photo: Sophia Jones-Mwangi/IRC)

I first met Abdallah on the outskirts of the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya, where most of the refugee families from Somalia are settling.  I was with a team of International Rescue Committee community health workers who are carrying out a mass malnutrition screening of all children under five who arrive in the camp.

As Abdallah talked with us, the team leader, Dr. Milhia Kader, noticed that his youngest child, Aden, was extremely malnourished.  The three-year-old was vomiting and had diarrhea.  She immediately called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital. There, he was admitted to the IRC’s unit for severely malnourished children where he was immediately given special vitamin-enriched milk.

Knowing that his little boy is in good hands means one less worry for a father who has struggled so much for his family’s survival.

Addallah helps feed his son Aden vitamin-enriched milk in the IRC's nutrition unit
Abdallah feeds Aden special vitamin-enriched milk in the IRC's
unit for severely malnourished children.

(Photo: Sophia Jones-Mwangi/IRC)

To Help

The IRC is scaling up relief efforts to aid people devastated by the drought — the worst in 60 years — that is ravaging much of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Your emergency donation will help provide relief to those hardest hit.

Donate now and support our urgent relief efforts

July 22, 2011 - This post has been revised to reflect the following correction: Abdallah Ibrahim Jare's son Aden is three years old, not one.



I had a dream that I was

I had a dream that I was going to work and that my husband was dropping me off at the front door of my company. Suddenly I see that he is driving through many corporations and then dropped me off outside. A older african womans face distressed about about african children she places the children in my arms and they cling to me with great desire of love and care. She tells me she can't something to do with their care. Then she leaves them with me to raise and care for them. I began looking for my shoe's the one african girl tells me she forgot her other shoe than as I began carrying them to the car. The Car that is waiting for us is a pink Catalac with lace and bows around it the children and I stand there in joy and amazement as we see how pretty it looks. I realize now how much I can help and will make a donation and further that as I find the path to suceed in this matter. Wow! I stand in awe.

Ihave been asking my self

Ihave been asking my self where is IRC but now Ifound the answer, but which is painful is the lost of Ishan while she is after her childern forgotten herself, alot of quiek eforts are need to rescue the people in the horn of africa. Abaker