Perdana Global Peace Foundation trustee Datuk Ahmad A. Talib (second from left) and senior associate Fauziyah Abu Hassan (centre) arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang yesterday after a six-day trip to Somalia. With them are volunteers Ahmad Qaiyum (right) and Shafie Sharif Mohamad (left). Pic by Mohd Fadli Hamzah
New Straits Times
Monday, July 16, 2012
SEPANG: MALAYSIA, via the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), is putting together resources to help those in Somalia to have clean water facilities.
Foundation trustee Datuk Ahmad A. Talib, who had just returned on Saturday from a six-day trip to Mogadishu, said the people there needed better water facilities.
"They are relying on wells for their daily water supply and some of these wells have been around for more than 300 years. But these wells are very deep and need a good pump system.
"In our recent visit, we helped to fit new pumps at three wells. We plan to help them to build more wells in Mogadishu when we go back there in three to four months."
For now, said Ahmad, the people in Somalia had to travel to the wells, located between 10km and 20km from their villages, by camels and donkeys while dodging attacks from armed groups.
Ahmad and three others from PGPF had met segments of society in Somalia, including orphans, blind students and the disabled.
"The purpose of our visit was to monitor the situation there and identify how best we can assist them," said Ahmad.
A visit to the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (Mercy)'s health centre revealed a steady stream of people -- between 80 and 120 patients daily -- getting their medicines from the facility, said Ahmad.
The situation in Mogadishu, he added, had started to improve as people could move around and businesses had resumed.
However, he said, many people were still sleeping in the streets.
Describing the "scars of war" in Somalia as heart-wrenching, he said the battle-worn country was in worse condition than Gaza and Bosnia, two places which he had also visited.
"Children are sleeping in plastic tents and their schools have no roofs."
PGPF senior associate Fauziyah Abu Hassan said Malaysians, especially youth, should never take the peace they enjoyed now for granted.
"It is easy to destroy a nation but it will take years to rebuild it. My heart sank looking at the deplorable conditions in Somalia. But I admire the fighting spirit of the elders and the children there.
"They continue to make their presence felt by reminding the world that Somalia is still around and will remain so."
Somali Shafie Sharif Mohamad, who is doing his doctorate in business administration at the International Islamic University of Malaysia, said he wanted to be part of the reconstruction process in his country.
Scheduled to graduate next year, Shafie, who is a PGPF volunteer, said he would return home and continue his work to help his people, including setting up schools for Somali children.
"PGPF has come to our aid and our gratitude is beyond words."
Source: New Straits Times