She was a victim of the food crisis that threatened the lives of millions of people across East Africa a year ago. To her, help came in time and she survived. I have met six-year-old Sadia Abdullah, a standard one pupil from Makarim Primary School in Modogashe in Northern Kenya.
When our team met her last year, she was suffering from malnutrition. When I visit her almost one year later, Sadia is no longer an image of hunger and drought. She is now a healthy, plump, smiling girl thanks to the life-saving treatment and food that ActionAid provided to her and her family. Sadia’s life-story has been one of struggles, pain and loss that turned to hope and renewed purpose.
Sadia’s mother remembers:“We lost everything to drought-All my goats and sheep died. I was left with nothing. We could go for days without food. My children dropped out of school and they were malnourished.” But things have changed for the better.
“I am happy and I don’t feel frustrated about what my children will eat because as you can see, my situation has improved. I can now afford to have at least two meals in a day thanks to the monthly relief food that we get from ActionAid,” she continues.'
ActionAid has been giving emergency monthly food rations to families in the area. Sadia’s family has not only been benefitting from this, but also from water trucking which ActionAid is providing. The food, which includes cereals, vegetable oil, milk, beans and peas, is enough to last them for a month.
Sadia’s mother tells me, that she no longer worries over food and water. She says that the food she has been getting enabled her children to rejoin school. Sadia tells me that she gets a mug of porridge every morning and a plate of rice and beans at lunchtime. Modogashe is one of the areas in North Eastern, that is still too dry for meaningful farming, according to ActionAid field officer, Adam Gollo.
“Children are the first victims when a country grows short of food, because they are the weakest and their bodies have fewer defenses to fight against diseases, especially if they have not enough to eat. Malnutrition has unfortunately been hitting children for ages. That is why ActionAid aims its food assistance primarily at children, the elderly and at pregnant and nursing mothers,” he says.
Action Aid’s emergency work includes a variety of activities across the entire District of Garbatulla. Apart from the emergency food distribution and water, ActionAid has:
- Assessment, monitoring and treatment of malnourished children;
- Build of water tanks at health clinics and at five primary schools.
- Distribution of livestock to pastoralists, de-worming and other veterinarian support to animals.
- ActionAid has a long-term ongoing presence in many of the affected areas, and part of its programming looks at building community resilience to deal with adverse situations.