BELOW POVERTY: 43%
ACCESS TO WATER: 29%
ACCESS TO IMPROVED SANITATION: 23%
AVERAGE ANNUAL INCOME: $600
SOMALIA IS A RESTRICTED NATION
World Vision Somalia has worked with the children of Somalia, their families and communities since 1992 through a variety of emergency and rehabilitative programming to address the emergency needs of communities while addressing some of the underlying causes of vulnerability in those same communities.
Somalia has suffered through civil war for more than two decades. However, a new government inaugurated in August 2012 appears to be slowly gaining ground against a longstanding insurgency. Sunni Islam is the official religion, and there is no official religious freedom. In 2011, Somalia’s problems were exacerbated by the worst drought in six decades, leaving millions on the verge of starvation. Relative stability exists in the two semi-autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland.
Somalia has a history of fierce persecution against Christians. In 2009, the parliament approved implementation of Sharia law nationwide. The government has also banned proselytizing. Christian converts from Islam are estimated at fewer than 300 people. Most Somali Christians are secret believers who worship in house churches. The radical Islamic group al- Shabab, aligned with al-Qaida, has vowed to eradicate all Somali Christians, and they have especially targeted converts from Islam. The group has executed dozens of Christians in the past five years. There have been several instances of al-Shabab adherents targeting Somali Christians in Kenya. Though the constitution does not address conversion, the courts can convict Somalis of apostasy on the basis of Sharia law. Conversion to Christianity is socially unacceptable, according to al-Shabab. In addition to the Islamic extremists, persecutors include family members, clan members and local administrators. Even Somaliland has imprisoned some Christians and expelled others. In 2012 VOM helped evangelists start small businesses so they could support themselves and their families while sharing the gospel. VOM continues to support evangelists who have converted from Islam and are in danger of losing their lives for sharing their faith, and provides safe houses for persecuted Muslim converts.
VOICE OF THE MARTYRS