Somalia was ranked second on Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List for persecution of Christians. A militant group there publicly declared that it “wants Somalia free of any Christians.” But over its 60-year history, TWR has specialized in bringing hope to areas shaken by political instability, plagued by religious persecution, and ravaged by war. And for the past two years, Project Hannah’s Women of Hope has been delivering on the promise of the radio program’s name to women in Somalia, to the refugees in neighboring countries, and to those who have long lived outside their homeland.
Only in 2012 did an internationally backed Somali government begin bringing some sense of stability to this country consumed by civil war since 1991, when rival clans overthrew the government. There are 1.1 million internally displaced people within Somalia and at least 1 million Somali refugees outside the borders (http://www.unhcr.org/53a155bc6.html). Though the crisis of famine that killed at least 260,000 in 2011 has passed, Somalia remains vulnerable to droughts and outbreaks of malaria, measles, and polio.
Globally, women bear the brunt of poverty, conflict, and natural disasters. Somali women experience these hardships compounded by a culture that encourages male dominance. Traditions and customary codes are generally practiced despite state laws, a reality that results in horrible abuses of Somali women. Female genital mutilation (FGM) remains nearly universal in Somalia, and domestic violence is generally accepted. Rape is so common that it is considered normal. Child marriage and poor health care combine to make childbirth one of the greatest risks to Somali women.
Somali women are decades away from any major changes. They need our prayers. No matter how bleak life is for Somali women, or how much better it becomes, the true need for Somali women is one we all share: rescue by God to be citizens forever in his kingdom of light.