THE Wits SRC has begun a campaign to provide assistance to the crisis in Somalia. 

Fighting famine is a priority not only for the United Nations but also for the Wits SRC, as millions of Somali people face starvation.

A UN agency held an emergency meeting on Monday night to discuss ways to counteract famine in Somalia but Wits has also begun to take action.

SRC fundraising officer Wandile Sishange explains a campaign which they have initiated to assist the needy country:

“It’s based on a mission statement ‘we have to have an African perspective on the things we do’.

“What happens in Somalia affects the continent. [We must ask] what can the Wits community do to assist the situation?”

Last week, the UN confirmed that two regions in southern Somalia are in a state of famine. UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, is asking for a donation of about $1-billion to aid the affected people.

Sishange explains how the SRC also plans to raise funds for the people of Somalia, who are currently seeking refuge on the other side of their border in Kenya. “[We are ]trying to appeal to those who can assist, from government to the private sector to students. Even if only 10 000 of the 28 000 students contribute R10 each [that’s something]. We really hope students in the Wits community will unite in doing this.”

Sishange also hopes to create awareness of the situation; he says he has been following the events in Somalia since he was in grade 8, when a man named Peter Hammond came to speak at his school.

Somalia has had no central government running the country since a civil war began in 1991.

“There has been political instability and there is no government in place, so after food and medicine are provided they also need political stability to sustain [themselves],” says Sishange.

“The people of Somalia should be able to find solutions for their own problems, all we can do is facilitate”.

The SRC is calling for students to contact them if they are willing to be a part of their committee to raise funds and possibly be sent there to help out.