Words from a Mother

twoIn Burundi, 39 percent of children under age 5 are underweight and there is a high mortality rate for these little ones.

Many times, the causes of malnutrition are preventable. A Burundian woman named Noella who lives in Kinyinya, found out just in time how to keep her little girl healthy through Food for the Hungry (FH) training. Through care groups led by mother leaders, Noella received life-saving information for her daughter. Here is her story in her own words.

My daughter’s name is Nadine. A little after she turned 1 year old, her hair became gray. She had swollen cheeks.

The mother leader who was training us at that time came on a visit and detected that my daughter was suffering from acute malnutrition. She brought my case to the attention of Elie, FH’s health promoter in my area. He came to visit, sat down to talk to me.

Through his questions, he was trying to investigate my diet, the food we eat in my home. I opened up to him and told him that the common food in my house were tubers, mainly sweet potatoes and yams. Sometimes we mix it with peanuts, which we produce in good quantities here, but we prefer to sell all the peanuts at harvest for cash.

Elie told me that he would be coming regularly to train me on how to cook good food for Nadine. He showed me how to change my diet using available foods in my home.

oneHe and the mother leader encouraged me to take my daughter to the health center for deworming and to regularly feed her with vegetables and peanut flour. They taught me how to make porridge mixed with amaranth and egg and to feed it to my daughter twice a day. I also learned to feed her with cow milk regularly.

As I was worried about the health of my daughter, who was growing very weak and got often sick, I decided to try to do what they taught me. After one month only, I started seeing change. Her hair was turning black and her skin color was getting normal.

Today, my daughter is healthy and growing well. I have to say that I did not receive any therapeutic feeding or rehabilitation. I followed the advice of the mother leader and the promoter, and decided to change her diet, and gave her deworming medicine. Those were the simple actions which saved my daughter.

Nadine is now 2 years and six months, and she is enjoying a good health.

Thank you for helping to save children’s lives around the world by allowing life-saving information to reach mothers like Noella.

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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