Being a new mum can be scary, especially if you don’t have the right support. Meet Grace*, who's making sure that vulnerable new mums in South Sudan don't have to go through this difficult time alone.
From help to hope
Grace lost her first child to malnutrition. Her second was critically ill when he was admitted to one of the feeding centres run by Tearfund. The baby was extremely malnourished and suffering from severe diarrhoea. He needed treatment for infections too.
Sadly, this is not an uncommon scenario in countries like South Sudan, where malnutrition contributes to more than one third of children's deaths. It is one of the poorest nations in the world, with half of its population requiring humanitarian assistance, and it has a devastatingly high infant mortality rate.
To combat this, Tearfund is running feeding centres to help new mothers and their babies overcome malnutrition. The programmes focus on improving nutrition during pregnancy and infancy, treating pregnant and breastfeeding mothers as well as children under the age of five. Parents are also taught vital hygiene practices to prevent diseases and infections.
The centre was able to treat Grace’s baby. Our staff members describe him now as being the picture of perfect health – with chubby cheeks and legs to match.
A mother’s work is never done
While at the centre Grace joined a support group for mothers. It wasn’t long before she became the group leader. Grace then began training to become one of the counsellors at the centre, providing daily support to mothers in need. The support groups have now helped more than 2,000 women. But Grace’s determination to help others doesn’t stop there.
Grace now leads activities that help the centre engage with the local community even more. She is known in the community as a role model, after changing the lives of many women and children in need. She trains new counsellors, volunteers and group leaders. This means that the centre can reach more new mums that are in need of vital support.
Heavenly Father, our hearts break as we stand with parents across the world, like Grace, who are mourning the loss of a child. We know your heart grieves with them too. We pray they will know your peace and comfort during this time, and they won’t feel alone. Draw near to them and hold them close. And we pray for feeding centres like these working to help vulnerable mothers and children survive hunger and other crises. Amen.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.