Together, we’re keeping vulnerable children nourished
*Warning – this story contains sensitive material. Names have been changed to protect identity.
In an instant, the lives of two-month-old Diela and her family were changed forever.
It was evening in the Binza region of East DRC. Diela’s mum was nursing her when a knock at the door found armed bandits looking for money and the location of Diela’s father, Theophile.
With only beans to offer, they refused, instead mercilessly taking the life of the mother in the doorway of the family home.
The tragedy shook the whole community, and fear grew for Diela’s survival. Theophile desperately searched for a woman in the community willing to continue breastfeeding his two-month-old baby. He found a wet nurse, but she was only willing to nurse Diela if Theophile agreed to cultivate her land. Despite having just lost his wife and a newly single father to three daughters, he had no choice but to accept.
The arrangement was working well. Diela, whilst small, was still growing. Theophile continued his commitment, but at some point Diela’s nursing mother backed away from hers and Diela’s health deteriorated. Unfortunately, her busy father missed the signs.
On returning from the field one day, Theophile arrived to find Diela had fainted. He quickly took her to the local health centre where she was assessed and referred to the hospital for urgent nutritional care.