Please support me as I raise money to travel to Nigeria to provide food for malnourished children and teach mothers about proper nutrition as part of the HealthZone Mother and Child Health Initiative.
What? – I am raising money for volunteer service trip to Nigeria
Why? - I will help to prevent and spread awareness of malnutrition and its affect on child development during the first 1000 days of life
What Will I Do? - I will serve as an instructor in a program that will empower local women with nutrition education and provide malnourished children with nutritional food each week during their first 1000 days
When? – Late April – May 2018
Goal? - $2000
Additional information for those who want to know more:
The United Nations has referred to malnutrition in Nigeria as the “silent crisis”. It is estimated that 2.4 million children are malnourished in Northern Nigeria and up to 50 % of pregnant women are under-nourished (1).
The First 1000 days
Research indicates that the first 1000 day period for every child – from conception to age 2 - are critical to their growth and neurocognitive development (2).
If a pregnant mother or child does not receive adequate nutrition during this 1000-day period, the child will suffer from irreversible physical and neurocognitive damage for the rest of his or her life (1).
This early developmental loss could lead to stunted growth, lower IQ, and a weakened immune system (1).
Such disadvantages make children more prone to diseases and decrease their likelihood of becoming adults that can get jobs and support themselves. Thus, perpetuating the cycle of poverty, disease, and death (1).
Providing pregnant women and children with adequate nutrition during this period is the best way to help children have the “healthiest and most productive life possible,” (2).
WHAT I WILL DO
I will be an instructor in a training program that is part of the HealthZone Mother and Child Health Initiative.
"The Mother and Child Health Malnutrition Initiative aims to improve health literacy among the women in the target communities, improve malnutrition and help develop sustainable solutions to inadequate nutrition in the critical 1000 days," (1).
As part of the program we will train up to 30 women in Kano State to be the community nutrition ambassadors for their respective communities using a curriculum developed by World Vision International.
We will teach them:
-The benefits of proper nutrition, the negative impacts of inadequate nutrition on pregnant mothers and children
-How to counsel other women on proper nutrition
-How to access a child for malnutrition by measuring the height, weight, and mid-upper arm circumference of the child
These community ambassadors will help to identify the severely and moderately malnourished children in their communities and those children will qualify to receive a nutritional cereal package on a weekly basis.
Any child that has moderate to severe malnutrition will be monitored weekly until full recovery as part of this initiative.
This program has already begun and the video on this page is from the launch event in November 2017 where several hundred women and children were screened.
WHY I CARE
It makes me sad to know that there are people in this world who are starving to death while others live with more food than they need. Honestly, it can be overwhelming to think about this because I know that I can’t feed every starving person. I can feel guilt for the fact that I have so much in comparison to them. Often times I have not known what to do, and decided not to think about it.
I recently lost my job and decided that I wanted to use my extra time to go on a service trip to help the poor. So when I heard about this opportunity, I was excited about the chance to do something that would have a big impact on those who need food.
Originally, I had envisioned going to Central America where I could make use of the Spanish that I know. I also knew that I could find something to do in the US. However, there are often service trips to Central and Latin America and underserved US cities by many charitable organizations. It is my impression that Africa tends to get overlooked when organizations are determining where to send humanitarian aid or to set up volunteer programs. Although there are great organizations and people serving to help the poor in Africa, I think if it weren’t for cultural biases and dangerous conditions, there would be more. Therefore, I am glad that this program is in Nigeria, and as an American born of Nigerian parents, I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to my country of origin.
Although I want to do this, the reality is that I cannot afford to pay for this trip without financial support. For this reason, I would deeply appreciate your support and will accept whatever amount you desire to give.
The goal of this fundraiser is to cover the cost of my plane ticket, travel visa, food, and training supplies.
This is how the money will be allocated:
1. Plane ticket - $1350 (Purchased)
2. Travel Visa ~ $250
3. Food and other expenses ~ $200
4. Training supplies ~ $200
Total = $2000
The first 3 people to donate $75 or more can get one of the following:
· Babysitting (day or night - NJ only)
· Personal Transformation Coaching Session from Biju (30 min phone consult + 2 hour session via Skype/Zoom)*
The first 5 people to donate $150 or more can get one of the following:
· Babysitting (day, night, or overnight - NJ only)
· 2 Personal Transformation Coaching Sessions from Biju (30 min phone consult + 2 hour session via Skype/Zoom)*
*Ask me for more details
**We can make arrangements for me to help you in some other way.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I'm very blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family members, like you, who have supported me throughout the years. I know that every dollar that I raise is by the grace of God and not because I am entitled to it. For those who are not able to donate, please know that I still appreciate you.
Please contact me via phone, email, Facebook or my GoFundMe page if you have any questions.
With the deepest gratitude and sincerest appreciation,
1. Chike-Obi, Toju. “2017 Mother and Child Malnutrition Initiative Report.” The HealthZone: Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week Kano Intervention, Nov. 2017.
2. Schwarzenberg, Sarah Jane. “‘Feeding’ Brain Development: Key Nutrients Essential during First 1,000 Days.” AAP News, vol. 39, no. 2, 22 Jan. 2018, p. 9., www.aappublications.org/news/2018/01/22/Nutrition012218.
- Ronke Ekwenis
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