In collaboration with the Italian Military, LIFE did a distribution to a remote village in Djibouti. We gave out soccer balls, rice and bean packets, and school supply kits. This village is located 15-20 km from the nearest medical facility or school. There is not a lot to do there so handing out soccer balls provides the children (and adults) with something fun to do. People love soccer in Djibouti and by distributing the balls it gives them more than just food and clothing; we are trying to show that we care about all aspects of their life.
Our project house in Djibouti has started their fall training classes. The project house is a place where young women, chosen and vetted by our local staff, come and learn valuable skills such as sewing and baking. Currently the girls are working on sewing camel bags. These bags are made from left over fabric donated to LIFE. The insides are lined with flour bags, which makes them easy to wipe clean. On the outside the girls trace and cut out shapes like camels and the continent of Africa. These bags are then sold at local bazaars.
“Donations are the best gift, thank you,” said Mo, the coach of one the girl’s basketball team in Djibouti. The girls that play together have a very tight bond. “It brings people together,” said Mo.
Sports have taught them disciplines that they may not be learning elsewhere. There are girls from all neighborhoods playing together. One of the girls, Farah, age 28, has been playing basketball since age 12. She says they often how to go out and encourage the girls to come to practice despite how others may perceive them.
For the distribution, the federation contacted all the coach’s and basketball teams. One girl’s team plus six other men’s teams were present. Each team received a pair of shoes for each player and one basketball for the team to use. It was held at the basketball gym in town, an open-wall, covered concrete gym with stadium seating. They had decided to do the distribution that day and called all of the players and coaches. The coaches and Farah could not believe how many people had showed up on such short notice. The players were so excited to receive the new shoes, especially since they could be used for basketball.
“Some people don’t have any shoes,” said Mo. “While we may not make very much money being a coach, seeing the girls smiling and having fun is enough money for me.”
In 2015 LIFE distributed clothes and other aid to around 200 families who became homeless after their huts were intentionally destroyed. the people who required the families to leave gave some advance notice, but the residents did not make appropriate preparations in time. They were not provided an alternate place to live, and in the process, they lost their few belongings. Grateful mothers gathered at the community center to receive clothes and food for their children. Community leaders sincerely appreciated the timely gifts for their people.
Financed by the American State Department through the Julia Taft Fund, Local Initiatives for Education (L.I.F.E.) was able to provide a place for 60 students from different parts of the refugee camp to come and learn how to sew. The students, in groups of 20, work three hours a day for three days a week. The students begin with little or no experience in sewing, and are taught by former students of the sewing project. Skills taught include basic cutting, advanced clothes creating, and maintenance of the machines. In February of 2016, 43 students graduated from the sewing center. These graduates are now able to use their skills to provide an income for their family.
Generous donors have continued to provide rice, food supplements and shelter.
Even in hot areas like the Horn of Africa, it can get very cold at night.
A L.I.F.E. International consignment of medicines has been distributed to hospitals and clinics throughout Djibouti.
A L.I.F.E. International optometrist is training local technicians in eye-testing and in lens manufacturing
L.I.F.E. International has been able to help with the supply of manual water pumps in rural Djibouti.