Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Helping Rebeca grow up healthy in Bolivia

Young Rebeca from rural Bolivia was born in 2011. She was small at birth but still within the normal range. However, when Rebeca was just nine-months-old, her family learned she wasn’t developing properly.

Winay Mujo, ChildFund’s local partner organisation in her small Bolivian village, provides early childhood development evaluations to young children in the area. When Rebeca had her first check-up at nine-months it was revealed that she didn’t have enough strength in her back, legs and arms to crawl. Winay Mujo staff members showed her mother some exercises she could do at home with Rebeca to stimulate those muscles, and soon Rebeca began making her first movements.

But then, just before turning one, Rebeca suddenly began losing weight. She was diagnosed with mild-acute malnutrition, so Winay Mujo helped her get the dietary supplements she needed. She gained weight over the next few months, but she still couldn’t walk, even at 15-months-old. After a new course of exercises and diet, she learned to walk, and by the time she turned three, her growth and development were back on track.

Rebeca then developed a parasite infection and suddenly lost weight again. After her successful treatment, Winay Mujo looked more deeply into her situation and discovered that Rebeca was spending her days in the care of a teenage aunt while her mother worked. To provide a healthier environment for the little girl, Winay Mujo invited the family to have her attend ChildFund’s early childhood development centre in her community.

 

Rebeca attending an early childhood development centre supported by ChildFund Bolivia.

Today, Rebeca and her family are doing better, and they attend programs at Winay Mujo, where they learn about good nutrition and other healthy practices. Rebeca is now almost four-years-old. She has had all of her vaccinations, and her development is considered normal for her age.

Children in developing countries face many obstacles to healthy development. For infants in particular, early nutrition is essential to ensure they reach their full potential. Without adequate nutrition in the early years, children may never be able to regain developmental losses.

ChildFund works through local partners like Winay Mujo all around the world to provide the monitoring, stimulation, nutrition and learning opportunities children need to grow up healthy and strong.

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