Nearly 1 in 2 deaths in children under the age of five are linked to a form of malnutrition.
In the mountainous countryside of eastern Timor-Leste, several hours from the capital Dili, there is a village that is extremely poor and so remote that families living there need to walk almost three hours just to reach the nearest health facility.
It is a world away for many people in Australia, but for Ana* (pictured) and her family, it is home.
At only two years old, Ana has her whole life ahead of her. But extreme poverty and the challenging circumstances in which Ana was born into, are preventing her from reaching her full potential.
Ana and her family live in a household of 17 people, who are together surviving on less than $4 a week. Until recently, Ana’s diet consisted of mostly porridge made from rice and water.
About 12 months ago, Ana became malnourished. She was extremely unwell and her life was at risk. A severe worm infection worsened Ana’s condition. Her mother, Maria*, noticed that Ana was losing her appetite and that she had stomach pains and diarrhoea. Eventually, Ana stopped eating and began losing the already little energy and strength that she had.
*Names have been changed to protect individuals’ identities.
“I wish nothing more than a healthy life for my children so they can go to school.”
She is a community health volunteer.
Atina (pictured, in green) is a single mother of five with a passion for helping children. She has been a community health volunteer with ChildFund for 14 years, supporting children and their families in her remote village, in eastern Timor-Leste, to lead safer and healthier lives.
The nearest health facility to Atina’s village is 22km away. Few families can afford their own vehicle, and public transport to the facility passes through the village only once a day.
As a health volunteer, Atina is an important point of contact for families. She is helping to monitor children’s growth to prevent and treat malnutrition, and supporting women to access maternal health care and to safely deliver their babies during emergency births.
These are only some of the amazing things that Atina is doing for her community!
“I love seeing more
families than before taking their children to the health centre for check ups and vaccinations.”
You can help nourish children.
Your donation can help train more community health volunteers like Atina to:
- lead child nutrition workshops for parents and caregivers;
- regularly monitor the growth and health of young children to prevent, identify and treat malnutrition;
- identify and help treat common childhood illnesses;
- ensure children are vaccinated from deadly diseases;
- support mothers in accessing antenatal and postnatal care;
- assist mothers during emergency births.
Ana’s story: Malnutrition can be life threatening
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