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Mar 19, 2014

Strengthening Health and Nutritional Status

Naomi, Ghana
Naomi, Ghana

The founder and head of the Royal Seed Home in Tema, Ghana, Naomi, knows exactly how it feels to be a street child – she herself was one. Now, she has dedicated her life to helping children who are just like her and with the aid of the One Child One World™ program, she is able to address the issues of malnutrition among the children in her home.

The AmeriCares One Child One World™ program in Ghana works to address the nutritional and health needs of vulnerable children living in orphanages across the country. Now in its third year, the pilot phase of the program is targeting 30 homes across the country that serve 1,800 children and their 300 caregivers.

When she was a teenager, Naomi began taking in younger street children to share her one-room apartment and train them in dressmaking. “These children are just like me,” she explained, “They grow up outside society and they have no social protection. We all have the same story.”

Naomi’s inspiration to start the Royal Seed Home came to her in a dream where she was feeding an endless line of street children. She woke up knowing that was her calling in life. She immediately began raising funds to establish her home. 

Today, Royal Seed Home is home to 150 orphaned and vulnerable children who are cared for by 28 caregivers. The home is mostly community-funded and has very limited access to resources to care for the children. Through the AmeriCares One Child One World program, Naomi and her staff have received regular deliveries of nutritionals and hygiene products that have contributed to providing even better care to the large and ever-growing family at the Royal Seed Home.

Results from the program baseline show that 29% of children living in homes are considered underweight and 17% are considered “wasting,” or extremely underweight. These levels are about twice the levels found among Ghanaian children outside of homes. 

AmeriCares partners with Hope for All Foundation and the Youth and Social Enterprise Fund to deliver fortified meals and nutritional supplements to strengthen the nutritional status of the children. To date, more than 100 caregivers have been trained in child development, basic health and hygiene and nutrition. AmeriCares has also delivered more than 5,000 course treatments of nutritionals and over 517,000 XANGO meals since the project began.

Mar 19, 2014

Uttarakhand Flood Response Continues

Beneficiaries with medical nutrition kit
Beneficiaries with medical nutrition kit

In response to the devastating flood disaster in Uttarakhand, the AmeriCares India team mobilized free medical camps and distributed relief supplies to help survivors in hard-hit districts of the Indian state. The flooding killed thousands and left many villages cut off from aid and health services.

AmeriCares India doctors travelled through treacherous terrain to 40 villages in the districts of Rudraprayag and Chamoli, providing free primary care services to more than 10,000 patients.   The historic flooding left survivors suffering from injuries, infections, and diarrhea, and at risk from a variety of diseases including typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and malaria.   

“Many of the patients seen by our emergency medical teams had flood-related injuries and illnesses, as well as chronic conditions that they could not get help for, because roads were impassable due to landslides, debris, and washouts,” said Garrett Ingoglia, vice-president of emergency response at AmeriCares. One patient, a 5-month-old baby boy, was treated for acute diarrhea. The family was unable to get health care for the child because their village was completely cut off by fallen debris.

“While in the field, our teams also saw first-hand the crucial need for maternal and child health services,” explained Ingoglia. The teams tended to three newborn babies, including a set of twins whose mother could not get to a health facility in time to deliver her first child because of blocked roads. “If our team had not deployed, there would not have been a doctor immediately available to attend to the newborn and mother because of disaster-related staffing shortages at the health facility, ” he said.  

The disaster struck Uttarakhand in June, after heavy monsoon rains gave rise to catastrophic flooding, inundating 12 districts that are home to more than 1.6 million people. The floods caused landslides destroyed homes, roads, bridges and crops. Rudraprayag was one of the worst-affected districts, with many areas completely cut off by the floods.

A grandmother & grandchild at AmeriCares camp
A grandmother & grandchild at AmeriCares camp
At one of AmeriCares makeshift medical camps
At one of AmeriCares makeshift medical camps
Dec 19, 2013

One Child One World Program Update

Naomi, founder and head of Royal Seed Children
Naomi, founder and head of Royal Seed Children

One Child One World™ Program

 

AmeriCares continues to support the health and nutritional needs of orphaned and vulnerable children in 30 residential homes in Ghana through One Child One World™, a program launched in 2011 in partnership with Hope for all Foundation and the Youth and Social Enterprise Fund. During the second quarter of fiscal year 2014 we shipped more than $250,000 of nutritionals in support the program.  We continue to provide health and nutrition training to 300 caregivers and to work on identifying a sustainable local source of nutrition. We are also encouraging the homes to develop small-scale food projects that could not only provide nutritionals but also be income-generating.

 

Following is a story about Naomi, the founder and head of Royal Seed Children’s home in Tema, Ghana, one of the 30 participating homes in One Child One World™.

 

Naomi herself was once a street child.  Born to a family with limited resources, Naomi wasn’t able to regularly attend school because her father did not want to invest in education for girls. Instead, she did farm work and sold goods on the road and in the train station to help her family survive.  However, Naomi was committed to getting an education, and saved some of her money in order to periodically attend vocational school, without the support of her parents.  This experience inspired her to work with street kids, many of whom had a similar story.

 

One night Naomi had a dream of giving food to an endless line of children, and woke up inspired to take action. Naomi took in four younger street children to live with her in the single rented room where she lived. She fed and sheltered the children, helped them attend school, and taught them some basic income-generating skills, such as dress-making.

 

Today, Naomi’s Royal Seed Home is government-registered, includes a primary school, and is filled with 150 children of all ages.  Many of the children are orphans, but many others are former street children or come from families who are unable to support them for economic, health, or other reasons.  The home receives support mainly from private donations from individuals in the community, churches, and businesses, as well as limited government funding.

 

Naomi has told AmeriCares how much the training provided through One Child One World™ impacted her and her staff. Among the most important lessons she learned was how to care for children who come from challenging circumstances, and how to listen to them and build trust.  Seven of the home’s 28 caregivers attended the first caregiver training in spring of 2013. Naomi thought it was important to involve several members of her staff to empower them to expand their knowledge and to then teach others what they’d learned about nutrition, health, and child development.

 

Another lesson learned from the training was the value of developing small home gardens to fortify the children’s meals with plant nutrition.  After the trainings, Naomi and her staff were inspired to plant a garden in a vacant 20-acre field owned by the home. They are now growing sugarcane, bananas, and spinach, and the children not only have better-rounded meals, but they also learn about maintaining and caring for the garden.

 
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