Stories

The first 1,000 days of a child’s life – from conception until the age of two – are critical in determining whether they will be able to reach their physical, intellectual and productive potential.

This is because if a child doesn’t have access to the food and nutrients they need in those first years of life, it can set them back permanently.

Unfortunately, almost a quarter of all children under five show signs they are not developing properly.

In 2017 about 151 million children under five suffered from stunted growth, a condition that has long-lasting effects and continues to be a leading cause of childhood deaths.

What is stunted growth?

Stunting is the impaired growth and development children experience because of poor nutrition or repeated infection.

A child may have stunted growth if they are undernourished or malnourished. The World Health Organization has developed growth standards that apply to all children regardless of their ethnicity, socio-economic status and their diet. If a child falls below these standards, they are defined as being “stunted”.

 

ChildFund supporters are helping tens of thousands of children who have been affected by emergencies around the world.

Supporters of our Africa Food Crisis appeal have provided lifesaving support to children across the continent who are on the brink of starvation. In Bangladesh, ChildFund supporters are also improving conditions for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled violence in Myanmar.

These emergencies are so widespread that they demand the world’s attention. But what about the hidden emergencies? The disasters you you never hear about? Every year, children are impacted by crises in remote villages, far away from the cameras, and in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Floods, civil conflict, droughts, and many other disasters affect developing countries each year, often in places that do not have the resources needed to respond.

When these disasters strike, children are the most vulnerable.

ChildFund’s Project Humanity partners help ensure children affected by these emergencies can receive the help they need when a crisis occurs.

Here are a few hidden emergencies Project Humanity partners have supported in the last year.

Fires in Laos

When fires broke out in the remote village of Sanfan earlier this year, 90 percent of the houses burned to the ground. The sudden fire, which was sparked by an electrical fault, spread through the remote village, leaving 260 of its 324 residents homeless.

More than 20 percent of the people affected were children under five, who suddenly had no homes, no safe water, and whose parents had just lost their livelihoods.

Sanfan is in a hard-to-reach part of Xiengkhoung province in Northern Laos, where ChildFund works. With support of Project Humanity partners, ChildFund has been able to partner with the local government to provide long-term solutions for families affected by the fire.

Flooding in Papua New Guinea