Joseph and Benjamin are brothers from Kyandoo, a small village near our Mombasa site in Kenya. When they were still very young, their mother, who was their only caretaker, sadly passed away. After her death, the boys went to live with their grandmother.
Life with their grandmother was full of happy moments! Joseph and Benjamin remember waking early in the morning to a breakfast of hot corn meal porridge that she had lovingly prepared. The boys would fetch firewood and haul water in from the nearby river for her, and she took special care to make sure they were thriving. The happy family did everything together, and the boy’s doting grandmother loved them deeply.
These happy moments were cut short when Joseph and Benjamin’s grandmother fell ill. She quickly deteriorated, and passed away just a short time after. The death of their grandmother deeply affected the young children.
In the Philippines, many children living in poverty are in poor health. Malnutrition, leading to anemia and poor dental health, is one of the most urgent issues at many of our Filipino sites. Through the support of our sponsors and donors, we work with our local partners to implement nutrition programs to help nourish hungry children and families.
In addition to sponsorship, our Tondo site in the Philippines provides regular daily meals supported through our nutrition program. Vitamins and extra supplements are also provided to anemic and vitamin deficient children.
So far, the children in Tondo have greatly benefited from the regular, healthy meals. In our 2017-2018 year, 144,551 meals were fed to children in need. Sponsored children aren’t the only ones who benefit- the coordinators were given permission to feed other children who were hungry and came asking for food, as long as the children in the program were fed.
Last September, Maskym, a sponsored child from our Ternopil site in Ukraine, came home from school with a sharp headache and high fever. Svitlana, his mother, kept Maksym home from school for two days thinking he had the flu. Maksym, however, just kept getting sicker. Svitlana also noticed that his head was constantly tilting to one side.
Svitlana brought Maksym to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with swelling of the brain. Treatment, however, had no effect. Maksym was quickly transferred to larger hospital where he underwent a variety of blood tests. It was soon discovered that he suffered from Lyme Disease. After a few days of antibiotics, he improved and was sent home.
Just one month later, Maksym became sick once again. Doctors informed the family that Maksym would need to be treated for upwards of one year to see improvement. Worst of all, the disease had caused many complications, such as inflammation of the brain stem, chest, stomach, heart, and kidney and pancreas issues.