Mariama and her granddaughter, Mariam
Self-Help International facilitates a maternal-child nutrition program, “Growing Healthy Food, Growing Healthy Children (GHFGHC),” in two communities in the Ashanti Region of Ghana - Beposo and Kukubuso. The program works with expecting and new mothers typically until their child is two years old. In cases where the mother is not able to care for the child or the child has special nutritional needs, Self-Help’s staff does their best to work specifically with those clients and achieve the best outcome for both guardian and child. Self-Help’s nutrition team sat down with one program partner, Mariama, to hear about her experience in the program with her infant granddaughter:
‘’I can’t tell my story without thanking Self-Help. Have you ever been in a situation where you are trying your best but seem to be unable to improve your situation? That was the situation I was in before joining GHFGHC.
I was taking care of my granddaughter, Mariam, because her mom was sick and unable to care for my granddaughter. The only food I could afford for Mariam was corn porridge and sugar. Before someone in the community told me about the GHFGHC program in Kukubuso, this was all I fed her - from morning until evening. Although Mariam was almost one year old before I joined the program, she couldn’t crawl and she looked malnourished.
Self-Help’s nutrition team advised me on how to take good care of Mariam because she was malnourished. They explained to me how I could help Mariam catch up using a combination of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), a high fat and protein supplement for malnourished children); Self-Help’s high-protein porridge, and eggs. Self-Help’s team also taught me how to enrich Mariam’s food using locally available foods, such as orange-fleshed sweet potato or peanuts.
I was amazed at the improvement in Mariam’s appearance just a few months after joining the program. Even though I live in a cottage outside of Kukubuso, Mariam’s improvement motivated me not to skip any of the program’s meeting days in the community. Mariam, who was having difficulty crawling when we joined GHFGHC, started walking just six months after joining the program. People who knew Mariam prior to joining the program couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the improvement in her health.”