Living in South Sudan in the midst of famine and war, Mary knew the challenges of raising a healthy and happy child. In a country plagued by depleted harvests, crops being wiped out due to conflict, and rising food prices, providing nutritious food for her son – let alone herself – was a daily struggle.
Holding her 19-month old son Joseph, Mary was heartbroken to learn that her son was malnourished. While a healthy child his age would measure at least 12.5 centimeters in circumference, Joseph’s tiny arm was only 9 centimeters.
Believe it or not, this was progress. He had already shown an increase from when he was first brought to Tearfund’s Nutrition Clinic just one month earlier.
Worried for her child’s health, Mary found rest and comfort in knowing that her and her son would be cared for and supported through Tearfund’s program. Accessing malnutrition screening and support for recent mothers, Mary learned how to best care for her malnourished son. Receiving weekly screening to track progress, as well as food distributions of Plumpy’Nut to supplement breastfeeding, Joseph began on a nutrient-rich diet.
Even though the process may seem slow, Mary is happy because she can see Joseph’s improvement. Joseph has started playing again and asking for water when he is thirsty. Mary told us, “nothing is more important to me than making sure Joseph is healthy again. I’m committed to bringing him for screening every Monday until that happens.”
With the hope that this program has brought her, she has started dreaming again about what Joseph will be when he grows up. She looks forward to who he will become, and all that he will accomplish. Mary expressed her gratitude for Tearfund, and how they are helping children like her son survive the crisis.