The Rhodes University Department of Politics and International studies showed that it doesn’t just teach theories of how things can be improved in the world, but also showed how things can be done.
Recently the Department in collaboration with the Students for Social Justice embarked on a fundraising campaign to contribute towards the Gift of the Givers Foundation – Somalia Starvation Crisis Initiative to help the people of Somalia who are currently dying because of starvation and lack of medicine.
When asked what was the rationale behind this noble cause by the department? One of the organisers from the Department of Politics and International studies lecturer Ms Siphokazi Magadla said that the initiative was a “response to the United Nations declaration of famine in two regions of southern Somalia (southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle).”
According to a report by the United Nations Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit about 4 million Somalis are in a crisis as a result of the famine, with a further reported 750 000 people at risk of death in the next four months if the situation isn’t aggressively tackled from an aid perspective.
“The rationale (of the fundraising campaign) therefore was simply that something has to be done to respond now to this emergency crisis. We were especially motivated by the clear response from Africans themselves to help other Africans through such initiative as the South African humanitarian organization Gift of the Givers Foundation- who has already delivered 112 tons of food parcels to Mogadishu,” said Ms Magadla.
She said that the funding was to support the second trip of the medical doctors sent by the philanthropic group, Gift of the Givers which left for Somalia the past Monday (04 September). This effort was initiated by Ms Magadla, with support of fellow staff members Mike Mavura, Shingi Maparura, and Zuziwe Msomi in collaboration with the society Students for Social Justice.
When further asked what was the real motivation for the cause? She said that it was because the South African government had initially pledged a paltry R1 million to Somalia and that after Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman addressed the SA parliament they increased it to R8 million and also provided planes to ferry the people and aid.
Ms Magadla said that they were also motivated by the government’s request of the SABC to also give a hand of help via a morning live edition that had viewers all over the country pledge whatever they had.
“Our initiative was to help all the members of the Rhodes community who would not necessarily have the time to go to the bank or be comfortable with pledging funds over the telephone.” But most importantly, she continued, “our objective was to say that even if someone could only afford to pledge R10 to the initiative, this was enough. So if we could make it easy for people with their R20 or R5 to donate then putting all of that together can make a big difference. And it did, we raised R6660.05.”
Ms Magadla praised the Rhodes University community for their contribution towards fundraising. The department initially aimed to raise R2000.00 but ended up raising three times more.
“As a department we have reached out to Gift of the Givers founder Dr Sooliman to give a talk here at Rhodes to direct the academic engagement as well as to offer us with the different ways beyond financial donations to the Somali crisis. At the moment Dr Sooliman is in Somalia, but the foundation has received our call enthusiastically suggesting that he would be able to do so upon his return,” she added.
By Rudzani Floyd MusekwaSource:
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