For single mothers living in internally displaced persons camps in Somalia, life is a balancing act. Often, time is split between caring for their infants and tireless efforts to find work, in order to afford necessities like food. A profound lack of resources and rising food prices due to COVID-19 have meant that many simply cannot access what is needed to sustain their own health and that of their children. In fact, almost a quarter of children under the age of five throughout the Gedo region are malnourished.
Single mother Fatuma lives in one such camp with her two-year-old daughter Hawa. Every day that she gets to cradle her healthy daughter in her arms, she rejoices.
That’s because of a scare this family had a few months ago. At 21 months of age, Hawa weighed less than fourteen pounds. Despite Fatuma working three jobs, a prolonged lack of nutritious food meant Hawa had lesions on her skin and was terribly anemic—she needed a blood transfusion immediately.
Fatuma brought her daughter to a nearby clinic supported by PWS&D, which she had heard about from others in the camp. “I was worried Hawa would die,” recounts Fatuma. “She spent 12 days in the stabilization centre where she was given medicine, nutritional feeds and received a transfusion. I was also given meals while she was admitted.”
Now, Fatuma can once again hold her daughter close, knowing Hawa has made a full recovery.
Through Canadian Foodgrains Bank, PWS&D is responding to need in Somalia by providing therapeutic food and other support for malnourished children, as well as meals for their caretakers.
Another Chance at Life
Fatuma’s neighbour Farhiya is also a single mother. Farhiya was well aware of the importance of proper nutrition, after having learned about it through Trocaire’s outreach program. But, living in the camp, she couldn’t find work. Food to keep herself and her daughter Arfi strong became out of her reach.
One day, Arfi became very sick with vomiting and diarrhea, and was no longer able to breastfeed. Fatuma brought her to the health centre, where Arfi was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition. She received immediate nutritional support and was enrolled in an outpatient program that brought her back to a proper weight.
Outreach programs like the one Fatuma attended are part of this program’s holistic approach to lower the rates of malnutrition in Somalia. Through these programs and the support available at the health clinic, a total of 7,700 individuals will be impacted over the course of the project.
There’s a glimmer in Farhiya’s eye as she recounts her daughter’s fresh start: “my beautiful Arfi has been granted another chance at life, and I am thankful for the support we have received.”
*This project receives support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank. PWS&D is a member of the Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working together to end global hunger. This project is being undertaken with generous support from the Government of Canada.