By Daniel Harris
04/11/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – On July 7, 2015, gunmen from the Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab, which operates in Somalia, carried out an attack on quarry workers in the middle of the night across the border in Kenya. The attack happened as the workers slept and claimed 14 Kenyans’ lives. The attackers first threw explosives at the workers’ building before entering and firing at the workers. Attacks led by al-Shabaab often specifically target Christian communities. In some attacks, they have even separated Christians from Muslims before executing the Christians. In others, they have attempted to forcefully convert Christians at gunpoint.
The attack on July 7 left families shattered, children without their fathers, and widows without an income. International Christian Concern (ICC) visited Mandera to determine how to help these families piece their lives back together. One of the most pressing needs was a means of income for families whose main breadwinner had been killed. ICC worked with these widows to figure out ways to help.
Last fall, ICC sent staff to help two of the widows start small dairy businesses. Our staff helped buy cows for the widows and organized the construction of sheds for the cows. We worked with local farmers to arrange training for them in how to take care of the cows. We also worked with a local creamery to arrange a buyer for the cow’s milk. Although businesses like these are small, they can provide a steady stream of income for the women to help cover school fees for their children and basic living expenses.
One of the widows told ICC, “We want to take this opportunity to thank ICC for coming along to help us…This is a milestone to our family because once [we] start selling milk we will have money for food and school fees.”
ICC implements small business projects like this to help victims of persecution rebuild their lives in the face of tragedy. These projects are designed to provide income and help families keep their children in school. But we are not finished yet. We want to help more victims of these types of attacks rebuild their lives, but we need your help. This month, ICC is sending staff back to Mandera to meet with other families affected by this attack to create a plan for starting more small businesses. Our staff will work with each victim individually to determine how their skills or background could best be matched with income-generating ideas. To learn more about ICC’s projects, please visit www.persecution.org. To give specifically to victims of persecution like these widows, consider donating to ICC’s Suffering Wives and Children Fund.