Stateside Organizations Donate School Supplies to Djiboutian Students
The Community Development Center (CDC) 5 stairwell in downtown Djibouti City was packed tight as more than 180 children rushed out of the building, each carrying a bundle of school supplies, a t-shirt and a smile passed on to them by the U.S. Army 418th Civil Affairs Battalion (CA BN) September 13, 2010.
The effort for the distribution was a close collaboration between U.S. Army Major Michael Guiles, 418th CA BN, and the director of School District 5, Mariam Youssouf.
"The people come to me and tell me what problems there are in the community," said Youssouf. "I relay that to Civil Affairs when they come to see me."
The school director said she's been in contact with the Army for three months and when the CA team stops by, they always ask how they can help.
Word went out through Djibouti City local media that children from School District 5 could come to the center for school supplies. This particular CDC was chosen for the distribution of donations, collected by several organizations of Combined Joint Task - Horn of Africa as well as from stateside organizations, to reach the most people possible.
Supplies came in from as far away as Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the hometown of the 418th CA BN executive officer Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hert.
"Education and health care are big priorities here," said Hert. "Donating school supplies is an opportunity for people back home to reach out and connect internationally."
The crowd of children sang "Frere Jacques" before thanking the soldiers and going outside for a lesson on playing with Frisbee discs by the 418th CA BN.
When asked if the children were always this lively, Youssouf replied, "There is always excitement when the Army comes."