Claudine, 34, lives in the African nation of Rwanda. She and her husband are casual laborers who work on farms near their village. The going wage for day laborers is 20,000 Rwandan francs/month (about $32 CAD). Even with both of them working, it is not really enough to meet the basic needs of their family. They have four children, the youngest is just one and a half years old.
Life has been difficult for Claudine, but some wonderful things are happening in her community that are giving her new hope. About a year ago, ADRA began to work in her village with a program that was designed by ADRA Canada and funded in partnership with the Canadian government through Global Affairs Canada. Called EMBRACE, the program works to improve the lives of mothers, newborns, and young children.
Claudine heard about the program from a neighbour. Together they decided to take their children to the ADRA health screening to get them weighed and measured. They were astonished to discover that their babies were found to be malnourished. Claudine decided to join the program and it has changed her life!
“My baby girl was severely malnourished. I enrolled and brought my baby to the EMBRACE program every day for twelve consecutive days for what they called ‘nutrition rehabilitation’. She gained a whole kilo and is now looking much better. I hope her health will keep improving.”
Every day as Claudine brought her baby to the ADRA EMBRACE program for the nutritious meal, she would also sit in on the health and nutrition classes that were being taught. Here she learned about the importance of feeding her children balanced meals, to ensure they get all the vitamins and minerals they needed to live a healthy life. She also learned how to start growing a variety of new vegetables so that she would be able to prepare these same wonderful meals right from her own kitchen garden!
In March of 2017, Claudine was selected to receive a cow as part of the EMBRACE program.
“I was chosen by my group members to be among the first beneficiaries to receive a cow. I am so happy to now be a proud owner of a cow! I would never have been able to buy one. The cow is going to help us in so many ways. The cow will provide milk for my children and give them a level of nutrition that they have never had before. The cow will give manure that I will be able to use as natural fertiliser in my kitchen garden and the little farm I own. This will improve my crop production. I am hoping that I will be able to sell some of my produce in the market for extra income for my family. When my cow has calves, I will also be able to sell them in the market for extra income for my family. This is really going to improve our lives! I am so thankful to ADRA Rwanda and the people of Canada for thinking of us and for all of the help they have given.”
Claudine’s family will not be the only ones to benefit from the cow. As part of the program each family that receives a cow will give the first female calf to another family in need.
In Rwanda, the gift of a cow carries a special significance as the families then become friends for life.
To learn more about Canadian maternal and child health initiatives, visit www.heartformaternalhealth.ca