A Mother’s Love

by Scott

The Trueheart search engine supports incredible causes, but sometimes it’s hard to fully appreciate just how much they impact local communities. So, we want to share the very moving and inspiring story of Fatuma. 

She lives in Somalia, a country mired in conflict and the tragic climate effects of floods and drought. Then, add in swarms of locusts and the deadly combination of all these factors led to the devastation of land and homes, leaving many people stranded. Then, COVID-19 hit. Many Somalians ware now unable to feed their families. It is heartbreaking…

This brings us to Fatuma… She lives outside Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu, in a camp for people who have been forced to flee their homes. She has two young children, including her daughter, Halima.

When the children were very young, Fatuma’s husband became increasingly abusive, but she was powerless to escape, since she was stuck in a displacement camp.

Meanwhile, her daughter, Halima, was taken away by her husband. When he finally brought her back, weeks later, she was showing serious signs of  malnutrition, which left her little  hands and feet swollen. She had inflamed patches on her skin, which had darkened and peeled. Her hair lost its color, became brittle, and started falling out.

Due to lack of protein and nutrients in her diet, Halima's hair turned brittle and began to fall out - a clear sign of malnutrition. - Fardosa Hussein for Action Against Hunger, Somalia

“Halima was in a bad state,” says Fatuma. “Her skin had turned black. You could tell she was in pain, she was not crying and she was moving her eyes silently. As a mother, I never thought I would see my daughter this sick.”

When Fatuma went to the pharmacy to buy medicine, she learned of a Health and Nutrition Center supported by Action Against Hunger that could help her daughter. She went there the next day and Halima was immediately diagnosed with the deadliest form of hunger – severe acute malnutrition – and admitted for treatment.

Under their team’s expert care over several weeks, Halima began to recover. She was treated with therapeutic milk and their staff advised Fatuma on the best ways to feed Halima and maintain good hygiene practices.

Once she was healthy enough to return home, Fatuma continued to treat her daughter using ready-to-use therapeutic food. This peanut paste contains all of the calories, vitamins, and minerals Halima needed to fully recover.

As Halima recovered, Fatuma began to receive monthly cash transfers from Action Against Hunger to help her provide nutritious food for her children.

Fardosa Hussein for Action Against Hunger, Somalia

After weeks of treatment at home, Halima was healthy once more. Fatuma is happy to see her child healthy again, and determined to create a brighter future for herself and her family

I knew my daughter would get better. I was determined to take care of her and bring back her lovely smile. She’s been through a lot and I feel that as her mother, I am making the necessary steps to teach her how to do everything. How to love, trust and be the playful and happy child that she was before [she became so malnourished]. When she grows up, I want her to go to school. I want her to have a better life than the one we live in now. I want her to have a good life. For me, I hope I can open a shop and start a business, so that I can raise my children and earn something for myself as well. That’s my hope for the future. [For now,] I am just so happy to see my daughter in her best state again.
Fatuma, Halima's Mom
Fardosa Hussein for Action Against Hunger, Somalia

Today, months later, it is hard to tell that Halima was ever malnourished. She walks, plays, and laughs like any other two-year-old child. Fatuma is thankful for her daughter’s recovery and committed to helping both of her children stay healthy.  

“I want to thank all the health care workers who have treated and taken care of my child. Thank you,” says Fatuma. “I want also to thank the staff of the organization [Action Against Hunger]. They’ve been in contact with me and they’ve followed up on my daughter’s health throughout. I feel very happy. I remember how sick she was then, and how healthy she is now, and I am so grateful.”

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To read more stories about Action Against Hunger’s noble work, please go to: https://www.actionagainsthunger.org/stories