Save the Children Federation

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children. Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.
Mar 29, 2013

A Courageous Mother

Merlin Elbur Maternal & Child clinic, Ceelbuur
Merlin Elbur Maternal & Child clinic, Ceelbuur

Adbia's story:

“I don’t have anything. No food or milk to give my children. I don’t have money to buy food either. That is why my baby is skinny,” says Adbia.

 Adbia Hossain is anxious. She fears for the life of her baby girl, Socado who is severely malnourished. Socado also has a bad cough, oral thrush and rashes on her body, perhaps from a previous measles infection.


Fear is a constant

 Not being able to care for your sick child because you have no food or money is a situation no one should be in. Sadly, it’s a reality for many people living in the midst of conflict and the East African Food Crisis.

Fear is not unknown to Adbia. Due to fighting in Somalia in 2012 near her hometown, Afgoye she was forced to leave her home with her family at a moment’s notice. Her parents did not survive the attacks.

With no lifeline, Adbia and her family have been living on the brink. The drought also took away their remaining herd of goats and they barely survive on the humanitarian aid they receive in Nabadoon camp where they live.


Breaking free from despair

Being in right place at the right time, Adbia heard about Merlin's health and nutrition program from the local leader of the camp. It was a stroke of luck.

At the first opportunity early next morning, Adbia walked to the Merlin clinic. Socado was examined by medical staff and given a range of vital medicines such as oral drops and Plumpy’Nut paste. This saved her from her critical condition and giving her ability to reclaim the chance of starting a healthy life. Under the doctor’s advice Socado was also put on a three month treatment program.

“I am happy my daughter is getting better with Merlin’s help”, said a relieved Adbia.

Expecting chaos, hunger and uncertainty on a daily basis is normal for people like Adbia but do you think it should be? Although not all of the problems related to conflict situations can be resolved, you can help us wipe away some of these life-threatening health issues from people’s lives by donating to Merlin today.

Nurses at work in Merlin Elgaras Clinic
Nurses at work in Merlin Elgaras Clinic
Feb 27, 2013

Superfood for Babies: Breastfeeding Report

All women deserve the support they need to breastfeed, if they choose to. Breastfeeding has important benefits for moms and babies everywhere, and can literally save lives in the developing world. Save the Children’s new report, Superfood for Babies, estimates that 830,000 babies could be saved if all women breastfed in the first hour of life. Exclusive breastfeeding for six months could save even more lives.

Yet, the report explains, moms face four significant barriers to successful breastfeeding. They are cultural and community pressures, the health worker shortage, lack of maternity legislation, and inappropriate marketing of breast-milk substitutes.

In the last two decades there has been huge global progress in reducing child mortality. Five million fewer children died in 2011 than in 1990. The world is nearing a tipping point, the time at which the eradication of preventable child deaths becomes a real possibility. There is still a long way to go to achieve that goal. 

One-third of child deaths are still attributable to malnutrition; the reduction in malnutrition rates has been proceeding at a stubbornly slow pace. Unless malnutrition is tackled it threatens to become the ‘Achilles’ heel’ of development, holding back progress in other areas. We must also tackle the unacceptably high number of newborn deaths: while overall child mortality rates are falling, a larger proportion of deaths now occur within the first month of life. Breastfeeding saves lives. It’s the closest thing there is to a ‘silver bullet’ in the fight against malnutrition and newborn deaths.

Breast milk is a superfood. In the first hours and days of her baby’s life the mother produces milk called colostrum, the most potent natural immune system booster known to science. Research for this report estimates that 830,000 newborn deaths could be prevented every year if all infants were given breast milk in the first hour of life. It is not only through the ‘power of the first hour’ that breastfeeding is beneficial. If an infant is fed only breast milk for the first six months they are protected against major childhood diseases.

Feb 26, 2013

Dona Fidelia Has a Dream to Reduce Malnutrition

The Brito family and their goat.
The Brito family and their goat.

Doña Fidelia Brito lives in Guatemala's Highlands, in a small rural village. A successful experience with Save the Children's goat program has inspired Doña Fidelia to fight chronic malnutrition in her community.

In 2008 Doña Fidelia and her husband Leonel Cruz took their only child Felipe Josué to a growth monitoring event. They worried about his low weight and looked for ways to help provide him with moer nutritious food. With guidance from the local health worker, they registered for Save the Children' goat raising program in order to produce goat milk at home for Felipe Josué.

After just a few months began to see a remarkable improvement in Felipe Josué's growth. When the goat had two kids, they kept them and gave the mother to another family. Later on, Doña Fidelia's own health improved by drinking goat milk, with no more hair loss and the headaches she used to have.

Early in 2012 Doña Fidelia adopted two more goats. Through best practices in animal husbandry, she now has four adult goats, and more on the way as two are pregnant. Thanks to the training received in goat management she has reached a daily production of a half gallon a day which she distributes among the young children of her village.

Other mothers are following her example, like Doña Maria Magdalena Alvarez whose goat now produces 1/2 quart of milk per day, just enough for her two-year-old daughter Catarina.

Doña Fidelia's dream is coming true, and other goat-related benefits for home gardening (manure) and meat production represent further contributions to her isolated rural community food security. 

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