Save The Children
has launched the #Lunchless campaign this month to help raise awareness of the severe growing hunger crisis in East Africa. The world needs to act now to save the nearly 20 million lives that are at risk in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda where children are suffering from extreme hunger. Families in this region are in urgent need of food and safe drinking water, and many severely malnourished children are in need of immediate treatment.
A combination of drought, man-made conflicts, and refugees flooding into already fragile surrounding countries have exacerbated shortages, creating the perfect storm for a humanitarian crisis of this scale.
According to the UN this is the worst hunger crisis that the world has faced in decades, with areas of South Sudan experiencing famine and other areas of East Africa currently on the brink. The UN defines a region where over 30% of the children under the age of five are suffering from acute malnutrition as experiencing famine. Malnutrition is the greatest underlying cause of death in children under the age of five around the globe, yet it is an entirely treatable condition. With proper treatment a child on the brink of starvation can be brought back to health in less than two months.
Recently the CEO of Save the Children, Carolyn Miles, traveled to Somalia with David Muir to report on the hunger crisis
. The report that aired on ABC News last week served as a wake-up call to many on the severity of the situation. I attended the Moms+Social Good event in New York City last week in where Carolyn spoke about the experience of seeing so many children suffering first hand. She recounted part of the interview caught on film with David Muir and Dr. Yousif Ali
at a feeding center in Somalia where Dr. Ali states that the children who were at the clinic, even the ones in critical condition, were the lucky ones. Many others had perished on their way to get help.
In the year 2017 no mother should have to watch her child die because of lack of food and water.
What if each of us gave up our lunch for one day? Save the Children is asking us to go #Lunchless to experience what it might feel like to go without by missing a meal. If for one day this week each of us went #Lunchless and donated our lunch money to Save the Children instead, we could save lives. Each #lunchless donation to East Africa Child Hunger Crisis & Famine Relief Fund is being matched by two separate anonymous donors up to $150,000 further amplifying each gift.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP:
1. Skip lunch and post a photo of yourself/your group going #Lunchless.
2. Through May 31st you can donate your lunch money by texting LUNCHLESS to 20222 to donate $10* (or donate any other amount here: http://ow.ly/lJUB30bdXAQ ).
3. Challenge your friends, colleagues and peers to join you by going #Lunchless by tagging them in your social media post.
Photo Credits: Save the Children
62,000 people. That is the estimated number of Haitians who are still displaced from the 7.0 earthquake that shook Haiti in January 2010; a heartbreaking disaster that claimed over 200,000 lives and displaced as many as 3 million people.
Elouse’s four cousins
….this is only 1% of the 900 people who lost their lives in Haiti to Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
900 lives…fathers, mothers, teachers, grandmas, little brothers, babies…lost in the waters of a sea that came on land and washed it out. A land crushed under debris created by a 145mph wind that knocked down concrete walls and tore down palm trees as if they were saplings just transplanted from a kindergarten classroom the day before.
To say that we feel for our sisters and brothers in Haiti is an understatement. My heart is heavy and it wants to scream because although it believes that we, together, will make things better, it is hard to see the road ahead when there is such a harsh wind blowing in one’s face.
To look at the state of Haiti now, with the lack of food and access, and the abundance of poverty, one may not remember how powerful a nation Haiti actually is.
In the 18th century, Toussaint-Louverture, Henri Christophe and Dessalines revolted in an effective guerilla war against the French colony. All three had been enslaved: they successfully ended slavery and regained freedom for the nation. They did this in 1791 against the French, in 1801 against the Spanish conquest, and in 1802 against an invasion ordered by Napoleon Bonaparte. They renamed Saint-Dominique after its original Arawak name, Haiti, which became the second independent nation in the Americas.
Such history should not go unnoticed because it is a significant example of the perseverance, love, and determination that courses through the veins of Haitians.
If I could say anything to my sisters and brothers in Haiti right now, if I could speak at all, I would say this:
“In the midst of the chaos; the heartbreak; the loss of life; the search for lives; the feeling that rebuilding will simply take too much energy…again; the pain; the tears that will run dry; the anguish, and all the feelings that weigh down your soul and may make you doubt your abilities, please remember who you are, what you have accomplished, and what you are capable of doing. You do not stand alone, because we stand with you. You do not sit alone, you do not swim alone, you do not cry alone, you do not hug your loved ones alone, you do not cry alone.
You do not cry alone, and you will not rebuild alone.
We are with you.
We are with you and we will laugh together again and you will see that we can get out of this. Please believe with me. I know it’s hard right now, and I do not pretend to understand what you’re going through, but please believe with me”.
To anyone who would like to assist, you may consider contacting any and all of these organizations:
Food For The Poor
Save the Children
Please remember that there is also a cholera outbreak because of lack of clean water, and it is also claiming lives. Help is needed most urgently! Please lets do what we can.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by this hurricane, not only in Haiti but in neighboring countries including the southern US states. Sending you all love and happiness in the hopes that you keep believing and looking forward to another sunrise.
Have you ever been directly affected by a devastating storm? What would you say to those who are trying to rebuild their lives?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Sophia at ThinkSayBe. Photo credit: Ricardo’s Photography. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.
Every woman has a breastfeeding story.
If you ask me, I’d tell you how I became a mother at the center of a lawsuit about the rights of women breastfeeding in the workplace, and why I turned down the financial compensation in my lawsuit.
If you ask my mother, she’d tell you why she never breastfed her children. That was before the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative took place, and the hospital staff gave her baby a bottle right after she gave birth.
If you ask my grandmother, she’d tell you how she breastfed her two toddler sons on a refugee boat and saved their lives.
It is because of my grandma’s experience, my mom’s experience, and my own experience that I am now part of my local breastfeeding coalition that works everyday to support moms reaching their breastfeeding goals and walk moms through it when breastfeeding becomes difficult.
We celebrate breastfeeding all year long, especially during the first week of August—it is World Breastfeeding Week!
A Sustainable Solution
In 2015, the world’s leaders commented to 17 goals aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity. Together, they formed the sustainable development goals. The theme of this year’s WBW is “a key to sustainable development.” It reminds people that breastfeeding is a key element in getting us to think about how to value our wellbeing from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share.
Breast milk is a secure source of nutrition, always ready and safe on a daily basis, and in any emergency or natural disaster. Breast milk is the ultimate sustainable resource. It requires no packaging or processing, is local and fresh, and costs the nursing mom only a few extra calories a day.
Multiple scientific studies reveal that breastfeeding has numerous lifelong health benefits for mom and baby. Breastfeeding lowers a mother’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Breastfed babies have lower risk of serious health conditions such as asthma, obesity, childhood leukemia and sudden infant death syndrome.
These benefits save health dollars, which shouldn’t be a surprise. That says breast is the best, not for the moms or the babies, but for the Earth and all mankind living on the planet.
Everyone has a part to play in achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030.
Everyone should care about the breastfeeding movement, even if you are not part of it.
A Human Right
The mention of “breastfeeding movement” might conjure up such images as a activist sit-in or a protester holding a “free the nipple” sign. But there’s more to the breastfeeding movement than its squeakiest wheels, and even women who have no intention of ever breastfeeding, or men who have no intention of ever having kids still have a personal stake in this issue.
On its face, the issue of breastfeeding rights might seem like a fight about what’s the best way to feed a baby. It is not. Surely it’s long been established that breastfeeding is beneficial, but that’s not the point here.
The fight for breastfeeding rights isn’t about the milk that’s in the breast; it’s about the woman who’s attached to them. Breastfeeding rights is something everyone should care about, even if you don’t breastfeed, and even if you are not a mom. Breastfeeding rights is a women’s rights issue, and women’s rights are human rights. It is something that concerns all women, and men with souls.
Breastfeeding is about choice. In the United States, more than 90 percent of women start breastfeeding their babies at birth. They know breastfeeding is best for their babies and themselves. Sadly, most women report not meeting their own breastfeeding goals and quit before they really wanted to. Many challenges, including not being supported to breastfeed after returning to work or being shamed for breastfeeding in public, make continuing to breastfeed harder.
What matters is that women have the right to choose to breastfeed, are legally allowed to do so in public, and are legally supported to do so at work. People who never intend to use their own breasts to feed a baby can and should still support the rights of women who do.
Support breastfeeding is support human rights and the global goals for sustainable development. So happy World Breastfeeding Week! Let’s work together to achieve the sustainable goals by making the annual WBW celebration more than a week-long effort.
Do you, or did you, breastfeed your kids? Is breastfeeding socially and legally supported where you live?
This is an original post to World Moms Network by To-Wen Tseng of California, USA. Photo credit: Ewa Samples Photography.
As parents we can not protect our children from the whole world around us, though we often wish we could. There are some things that we can do to produce the best possible outcome for our children. The first week of August has been designated as World Breastfeeding Week, finally breasts are getting the global attention they deserve for all the right reasons. Breastfeeding is being recognized as an important building block to the global Sustainable Development Goals. Having spent nearly a decade either pregnant or breastfeeding my own four kids, I feel like an unofficial ambassador.
My personal commitment to nursing our babies all began with a trip to Turkey. Our first baby was going to be six months old when we would be traveling and with all of the accessories needed for travel with an infant I was feeling overwhelmed. I realized the easiest way to streamline feeding would be to continue to exclusively breastfeed until we returned home. In that way we were able to skip bottles that needed to be sanitized, glass jars of babyfood, and the quest for clean water on the go. The experience taught me how portable babies can be, and the ease that breastfeeding provided in being able to feed them whenever and wherever I needed. Recent research, which inspired the declaration of World Breastfeeding Week, has highlighted the benefits of breastfeeding beyond the convenience. Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life has been shown to reduce the occurrence of ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory problems in infants, and may even help to prevent obesity in later years. In 2011 the Surgeon General created a call to action to support breastfeeding resulting in the month of August being declared National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
The First Thousand Days: A Crucial Time For Mothers and Children- and the World by Roger Thurow focuses on the importance of proper nutrition during the time period when a baby’s brain develops most rapidly, the 1,000 days from conception to the age of two years old. This is when the first breastmilk is so important because it contains colostrum which is rich in antibodies that boosts the newborn immune system. Breastmilk has been shown to contain all of the essential nutrients necessary to support a baby’s rapid development and in the book the American Academy of Pediatrics is quoted in 2012 as proclaiming:
“given the documented short and longterm medical and neuro-developmental advantages of breastfeeding, infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue not only a lifestyle choice.”
Breastfeeding on our travels kept our baby healthy throughout, but as we know we only have so much control. The 7.6 earthquake that hit on our second night in Turkey was a stark reminder of such. The next morning I thought of all the mothers who had crouched on their beds shielding their babies as I had while the earth shook, feeling the same fear, but who had not been as fortunate to survive. We can not always protect our children from everything, but by raising awareness with World Breastfeeding Week mothers will know that by initiating breastfeeding within the first couple of hours after birth a newborn baby is given the best possible start in life.
This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Elizabeth Atalay.
Did you find that you had support to breastfeed your baby?
Cooking with kids is one of my favorite activities. I have to admit, I don’t do it often enough. Mostly because of the limited space in our kitchen where two is a crowd.
My parents would let us kids into the kitchen as often as they could. We were cooking family dinners at very young ages. I remember having to do all the peeling while my older siblings were taking care of the more complex things around the kitchen. My sister was the baker. As a young girl she was baking elaborate cakes, and to these days, she impresses people with her kitchen skills.
Due to both of my kids being burned in the past (just a little, but enough for them to remember), they are pretty standoffish to the idea of being too close to a hot stove. In this situation, making them help me while I bake is more enjoyable.
Also, our older daughter is very picky and I’m hoping that letting her be involved in the kitchen will help her become more open to foods. She loves sweets, of course, so I love baking with her. By doing it, I hope, being in the kitchen will be associated with something positive for her.
Both of the kids love our family cooking project: “quest for the best cinnamon rolls“. I feel like this project has made them, especially the picky one, very excited about being in the kitchen.
We started it 3 months ago, and so far we’ve tried 3 recipes. In the meantime we have also baked our regular cinnamon rolls several times.
Cooking with kids is fun and messy, and it’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with them. I’m always trying to sneak a little more of the good stuff into our recipes, and with baking, it seems like hiding the nutrients into the food is less of a hassle then fighting over eating a piece of a carrot. So, why not?
Our last recipe wasn’t really a cinnamon rolls recipe, but it was close enough for me to add it to our project. I got it from one of my clients, who saw me doing this project and she shared the link to this “Whole grain cinnamon swirl bread“.
I wanted to try it because of the of possibility of sneaking quinoa into the recipe as well as all kinds of different goodies.
Creating the whole-grain mix was a great thing to learn about, and I actually started using it in all kinds of recipes. My kids don’t even know they eat quinoa anymore. I’m loving it.
If you struggle with a picky eater, finding things in the kitchen that make them excited about food is really a great way to get around it. It makes them focus on the positive things in food, not the bad things.
With this project we are doing, I still let them be picky, and I find it interesting to see that our older daughter is less picky with eating what we bake than the younger one, who normally is very open to trying new things, and eating in general. Every time we bake new thing, the kids can express their thoughts about the dish. We talk about what they don’t like in it. And after that we get excited about the next recipe we will try.
How about you? Do you have any picky eaters in your home? Any interesting family projects going on? Please comment below to share!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ewa Samples (Mom Photographer). Ewa can be found sharing her pictures over at Ewa Samples Photography. She is also on Facebook and Instagram.
Photo credits to the author.
October 16 was World Food Day and it got me thinking about food issues in Laos, the country where my non-profit, CleanBirth.org works.
Laos’ rate of stunting — low height for age as a result of chronic malnutrition — is staggering. A full 44 % of the population has stunted growth. In the remote areas where I work, stunting affects 54 % of children under 5, one of the highest rates in the country.
What are the causes of stunting?
The WHO sites multiple causes:
- Maternal factors. Mom’s diet before, during and after pregnancy, while breastfeeding is very important to a child’s future growth.
- Food insecurity. 80% of the Lao population lives in rural areas where the wet season brings rain-destroying crops. Pests are another big contributor to food shortages.
- Poor Hygiene. For example, according to UNICEF, “four out of five households do not dispose of children’s feces correctly and hygienically, an indication of poor health awareness.” Food and water are often consumed in a contaminated state.
- Non-exclusive breastfeeding. A study by Kaufmann et al found that pre-chewed rice was given to 20-48% of Lao infants in the first week of life. Another study shows a link between this rice supplementation and stunting.
- Poor quality foods, inadequate quantity, infrequent feeding. Nutrition experts find that over-reliance on rice and inadequate animal protein are to blame for much of the stunting.
What are the consequences of stunting?
- Problems with cognitive motor and language development.
- Difficulty in school and lower employment productivity/achievement.
- Lower adult statue, other health issues.
The Way Forward.
- Nutrition education is critical. “Even small changes in food preparation, such as adding salt at the end of the cooking process to increase iodine intake, can help,” said Aachal Chand of the World Food Programme.
- Government Action. The Lao government has a plan of action and participates in the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) program, focused on sanitation, development and women’s education to improve nutrition.
With such a focus on the food issues we face in the developed world, its important to take a look at the situation at the other end of the food spectrum.
What food issues are most pressing in your country?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog By Kristyn Zalota, founder CleanBirth.org.
Photo Credit: Kristyn Zalota