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Lifesaving recipes that help children in Mozambique grow healthy and strong

13 November 2018, Impact of Our Work

Good recipes can save lives

In Mozambique, where Tereza and her children live, families grow plentiful supplies of maize. They use maize to make a porridge, which keeps children feeling full. But as Tereza discovered, children still become malnourished.

That’s because the porridge doesn’t provide a child with the vitamins and minerals they need for the rapid physical and mental development that occurs during their first 1000 days of life. Emelia oversees an innovative Save the Children project in Mozambique, where volunteers are trained to check on the health of mothers and new babies. They show mums like Tereza how to prepare nutritious meals cheaply, and protect their children from malnutrition.

Tereza was worried when her first child, Eliza, had frequent fevers and didn’t grow as expected. Eliza was two months old when Paolo, a Save the Children volunteer, visited her at home. After measuring and weighing her, he explained to Tereza that Eliza was malnourished.  

The next day, Tereza woke up at 5am. She walked all through the morning, carrying baby Eliza on her back, only reaching the hospital in the afternoon.  

“The doctors measured and weighed Eliza and gave me a prescription for high nutrient supplements to help increase her weight.”  

Tereza repeated the long walk to hospital and back three more times until Eliza finally reached a safe weight.  

At the hospital, Save the Children volunteers showed Tereza how she could use cheap and plentiful foods to increase the nutritional value of the meals she prepared.  

Adding a beaten egg, some green leafed vegetables, fruits, nuts, pulses or fish to a savoury porridge could protect her family from malnutrition.  

“At the hospital I learned about preparing better food to help keep me and my children healthy,” says Tereza. 

When Tereza later had a second child, she had no problem feeding her, but was grateful to receive regular visits from Save the Children volunteers, checking on her baby’s progress.  

“The hospital is so far away. It’s very good that the Save the Children volunteers come and check on babies and mothers. We need this help.”  

Tereza now hopes that Eliza will grow up to be a doctor, “I hope that my daughter will study. Maybe she can become a doctor and help people like she was helped.”

Images: Anna Pantelia/Save the Children

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