Cash support helps premature babies thrive in Solomon Islands
Joylyn was enjoying being a mum of two girls and awaiting the birth of another baby when things turned unexpectedly and she became unwell.
“I was struggling to breathe and felt very weak,” Joylyn remembers. The young mother immediately knew something was very wrong.
Joylyn went to her local clinic, which quickly referred her to the hospital in Honiara, the nation’s capital. With her husband she rushed to board a boat, leaving their young children with family.
Thankfully, Joylyn arrived at the hospital in time. Hospital staff quickly admitted her, and it wasn’t long before she gave birth to a baby girl. Lanica arrived earlier than expected – precariously underweight and requiring constant fluids and care to survive.
Joylyn administers the medication her baby needed to survive.
Luckily, with expert care by healthcare workers and a fighting spirit, Joylyn’s fragile baby pulled through. With her husband eventually forced to return home to work, Joylyn stayed by Lanica’s side in the hospital’s nursery unit.
Two months after her daughter’s birth, Joylyn’s relief is obvious as she shares the stressful experience.
“Living here in the hospital in town, far away from our home is very challenging, especially financially,” she says. “I always worry about my daughters back home and how I will meet the needs of my newborn daughter.”
A small injection of cash
Thankfully, our team has a practical solution for Joylyn – a voucher card to pay for her family’s essential needs. These cards help families navigate financial strains, including those triggered by the pandemic, which arrived late in the Pacific.
Joylyn shows the voucher card, which she used to pay for essentials needed by her newborn daughter.
Cash recipients like Joylyn can spend their money at Honiara’s two largest grocery stores. The young mother has used her cash to buy necessities for Lanica, including food, nappies, and a mosquito net to keep her safe from diseases like malaria and dengue.
Joylyn’s already thinking of the future. “I will return home to my village next week. I will buy new clothes for my two daughters with the voucher card,” she explains, demonstrating the ripple effects even small amounts of cash can have on a whole family.
From hardship to hope
The cash and voucher assistance Joylyn received is part of the Disaster READY program. With your support, we’ve helped countless Solomon Islanders weather crises, as well as building systems and processes so similar support can be delivered after disasters.
Cash support can help parents like Joylyn give their children a better start in life. It’s a lifesaving help that can turn a moment of hardship to one of hope.
Today Lanica is happy and thriving, sitting up and saying ‘mama’ when she needs Joylyn’s attention. “I am very thankful to God for the voucher card Save the Children gave me. I was not expecting any support like this,” Joylyn says.
Disaster READY is supported by the Australian Government and implemented by Save the Children.
Photos: Collin Leafasia / Save the Children Solomon Islands.