Good nutrition during the first 3 years of a child’s life is important for a round development. But if malnutrition is present during those times, the negative effect is worse.
This is evident in Mariabel’s case. Mariabel is already 3 years old and she has weak leg muscles and infant’s feet. Her mom, Annabel, 23, is worried that her child will not be able to walk all her life.
Life in Camarines Norte
Mariabel is Annabel’s second child. She and her husband, Gilbert, 24, and their 3 young children are living in a house made of light materials in Camarines Norte. The house was given to them by Gilbert’s parents.
To meet their needs, they only depend on the meager income of Gilbert from mining. Gilbert works 24 hours panning gold from a tunnel and a river near their house. At times when the budget is really tight, they depend on Gilbert’s parents for their needs. Annabel can still remember the worst time they had when Gilbert became ill and they had no source of income.
“As a mother, I cannot watch my children cry because of hunger. So I would eat my pride and go over to our neighbor’s house and ask for food and milk for my children,” Annabel said.
When Mariabel was at 24 months, Annabel noticed that Mariabel still moves like an infant – she does not know how to walk and talk yet. At her age, she does not like to eat solid food and only drink milk, which is not good for her as she grows.
When Operation Blessing surveyed children in their neighborhood, Mariabel was found to be malnourished. She was then enrolled in the Bless-A-Child Project and had undergone daily feeding for 10 months. Her health was also monitored every month by Operation Blessing volunteers.
Every lunchtime, Annabel brings Mariabel to the feeding area and the young girl eats with other children from the community. Anabelle was also able to attend seminars on Parenting, Livelihood, Financial Management, Hygiene, and Child Protection.
The Bless-A-Child Program also provided a capital to start a piggery business to her family.
Through this, Annabel learned how to tend to the needs of Mariabel properly. Little by little, Mariabel learned to eat solid food and lessen her dependence on milk alone.
Anabelle was smiling when she saw the Operation Blessing staff coming to their place.
“We had a very big blessing last Christmas Day! Mariabel surprised us all when she stood on her own and walked around the house,” Anabelle exclaimed.
It was also like a double present for Anabelle’s family when they were able to sell their pig last year and earned more than enough to continue their business.
Now they do not need to depend on their parents or ask for food from their neighbors. Life is not easy. But Gilbert and Anabelle are determined to give their children a happy and healthy life.
Let’s continue to feed more children and help their families to stand against poverty. Until little by little we will be able to transform more communities. KNOW HOW YOU CAN HELP HERE