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The challenge mums – and their children – face in Zambia

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Meet Salifyanji.

Her name means ‘being thankful’ – a name that should evoke satisfaction and contentment.

But at just 18 months old, before she had the chance to grow into her name, Salifyanji’s life was fragile under the grip of malnutrition.

Her mum, Atines, like any new mother, desperately wanted to see Salifyanji thrive. But despite her best efforts to feed and nurture her daughter, she watched Salifyanji weaken and struggle.

The little girl’s skin and hair grew pale, her small body swelled with oedema as a result of malnutrition. Nearly half of all deaths in children under five are a result of this kind of acute undernourishment.

Limited knowledge and access to nutritious food held Atines back from keeping Salifyanji healthy. They were obstacles blocking the way to fullness of life – a fullness that Jesus came to bring to every person fearfully and wonderfully created in the image of God.

I didn’t have the information to keep her healthy.

Atines, mother of Salifyanji
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Meet Christine

Yet, amid these challenges, there's hope. Christine is a local nutrition volunteer equipped by Reformed Open Community Schools (ROCS) and represents the potential of community-led change.

It was a role she embraced with passion and care, and one that connected her with Atines at just the right time. “I brought food, sat down with Atines, and taught her how to make the food so she could do it herself,” Christine shared.

Just maize is not enough.

Christine, local nutrition volunteer

Through her nutrition training with ROCS, Christine knows that a staple food like maize will fill a hungry tummy, but it’s not sufficient for health and growth. She also knows that nutritional food alone is not enough to break the cycle of poverty in her community. Education around health, nutrition and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) ensures that people are well-informed to build on the foundation of a good diet for long-term change. Alongside this, in a region where livelihoods are dependent on agriculture, sustainable farming practices are needed to cope with difficult growing conditions and soaring costs of supplies like seeds and fertiliser.

It only took one week to see the difference in Salifyanji as her health began to turn around. Both mother and daughter gained weight and enjoyed increasing strength as each day they ate nutritionally-laden meals and understood how to maintain vitality.

Empowered with supplies, knowledge and a new network of support, Atines’ hope and confidence was restored. She was overjoyed to have what she needed to nurture her daughter towards a childhood of growth and discovery, and a healthy and productive future.

Now, Salifyanji is nourished for life: something she can really be thankful for.

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The issue of Food Insecurity and Malnutrition

In a world of plenty, it’s a profound injustice that child hunger and malnutrition continue to threaten lives.

Today, global hunger, driven largely by conflict and economic and climate shocks, continues to rise. A staggering 783 million people globally know the personal, daily ache of chronic hunger.

Tearfund's partners are addressing this issue through comprehensive initiatives that emphasise good food, nutrition education, and improved agricultural practices.

Your gift to Tearfund’s EOFY Appeal can be the difference between hunger and health for a child like Salifyanji.

Nourished for Life

End of Financial Year Appeal

Help fight child hunger and strengthen communities to overcome food insecurity.

can improve nutrition for a family by providing seeds and tools to grow good food

can tackle food insecurity by empowering 2 farmers' groups with sustainable agriculture training

can help fight child malnutrition in up to 8 villages by training community based nutrition volunteers

Related projects have received support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).