Recipe for Saving a Life

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Rehema is no longer malnourished.

Information is all around us for improving life. Bombarding us on the radio, television and computer—we are constantly being educated.

While this steady stream of latest studies might seem like a nuisance at times, it’s a luxury that many people living in poverty go without.

For instance, the health information shared with us on a daily basis about what foods to eat for better nutrition—women, like Echa, aren’t privy to this knowledge. Many parents living poverty have grown up without an education or basic health information.

So when Echa’s daughter, Rehema, started losing weight at age 1, Echa searched for help to save her life. Rehema weighed 19 pounds at 15 months, which was grossly underweight for a child her age. “I did not think Rehema would live to see her third year,” said Echa.

Echa met with Food for the Hungry (FH) staff in her community of Quirinde in Mozambique. FH staff taught her what foods to make to help Rehema gain weight.

“I was told to make thick porridge of mixed millet flour with maize meal and ground nut flour, add a little oil, sugar and crushed dried Moringa leaves and then feed Rehema three or four times a day,” said Echa. “I was also taught to boil sweet potatoes, peel and mash them together with a little coconut oil, maize meal and sugar. I was to feed her a couple spoonfuls of this three to five times a day.”

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Rehema’s parents are trying new ideas to change life for their child.

Echa followed this feeding plan and watched Rehema gain a half of a pound every month, until she was up to her normal weight right before turning age 3.

Because of the success of the Rehema’s weight gain, FH staff convinced Echa to join FH’s care groups. Care groups are made up of one FH staff and a group of mothers in the community. Together, they learn together how to improve the health of their families and teach other mothers.

Echa learned how to prevent disease through proper hand washing and dish washing techniques. She also learned about sanitation and other ways to improve nutrition. She started sharing this information with her husband.

“After (care group) sessions, Echa came home and requested me to help her make a dish rack, tippy tap and dig up a pit latrine,” said Abilai N’Kunca, Echa’s husband.  “This seemed strange, since we were used to doing things differently or the normal way.”

Echa’s husband talked to FH staff, who invited him to learn more at the men’s care groups. He and Echa continued to receive a health education each week that have changed life for them. Abilai says that since they started attending FH’s care groups, that “my daughter has never been sick.”

Through simple lessons learned in FH care groups, children’s lives are being saved. This is the kind of work that you are supporting around the world. You’re giving crucial information to people to be passed down from one generation to the next to end suffering.

Related posts:

  1. Cooking Recipes for African Porridges
  2. Saving Children in the DRC
  3. The Red Zone: Child Hunger
  4. Mothers Ending Poverty
  5. Infants Get Healthy Start to Life

About Renee Targos

Renee is a former journalist and editor for national arts and business publications. As a writer for Food for the Hungry, Renee explores and reports on the work and relationships of partners, FH staff and impoverished communities.

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