SOCIAL GOOD: Inspiring Women – Navyn Salem
“As I stood in the malnutrition ward of a regional hospital, my chest tightened, and I had to work hard to keep my composure. There were no welcoming smiles, only blank, empty stares. My camera, normally always at the ready, dropped down to my side. I couldn’t bring myself to snap images of so many children and mothers in despair.
To my left, a little girl lay on a bed, emaciated, listless, and very alone. I didn’t know her story. “Where is her mother?” I asked myself. All I could do was watch her chest rise and fall – as I did with my own newborn girls – and I clung to the possibility that, in this place, because of the nutritional peanut-paste we make, her life would continue.” -Navyn Salem, Executive Director, Edesia Global Nutriton Solutions.
Navyn Salem was shocked when she first heard the drastic statistics on global child malnutrition, and she was amazed that she had not heard about it sooner. As a mother herself she could not imagine a parent having to lose a child to something as easy to resolve as malnutrition, so the former stay-at-home mother of four, took it upon herself to do something about it.
With over 23 million children suffering from malnutrition in some form, and the cause of about one third of all child deaths globally, she realized there was not enough attention on the issue, and yet it seemed the simplest to tackle. Her father was born in Tanzania, and as an area that she had a connection to, she knew that she wanted to give back to that part of the world.
Five years ago the seeds for Edesia were planted. She began by speaking with experts, with a goal to increase access to products already out there, by expanding research and studying best practices until she developed a plan. (more…)