Standing Up for Stunted Souls
Caroline Abbotts, Hope and Healing Fundraising Field Coordinator
Last month, I had the pleasure and honour to visit Comprehensive Community-based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT), a partner of Hope and Healing. A specific experience made a huge impact on me.
While visiting the pediatric orthopaedic ward, I sat with a mom and her two children – both who have clubfeet. Michael is two years old and very skinny for his age. His sister, Neema, is four years old, barely longer than her brother and just as skinny.
When I first spotted them from around a corner, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. They seemed so small…way too small.
From my time with Hope and Healing, I knew these kids were stunted. Stunting, sadly, is commonly found in young children in developing countries, however, Michael and Neema were way too small – even for kids in the third world. This experience left me enraged, as it should.
The good news is that Neema, a smiley, sweet engaging four year old, will have her feet casted and her clubfoot corrected with the support of wonderful doctors. Her mother will work diligently with both children to guide them through this difficult time and support them to grow and mature into beautiful adults. The sad news is that the impact that malnutrition and stunting has already had on Neema’s body and her mind cannot be undone or corrected.
This stark reality makes me angry and frustrated and motivates me to do better – to do better in my work on project plans, budgets and fundraising. With the adoption of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), spearheaded by the United Nations, the world is bringing to the forefront the issues that impact Neema, Michael, and their mom. Each one of us has the opportunity and responsibility to work together to change the world – to ensure each child has the opportunity and support they need within their own community to thrive and to avoid the affect that poverty has on stunting their soul and body.