For over20 years, Bread and Water for Africa® has been working in Sub-Saharan African countries such as Sierra Leone, Kenya, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Zambia to ensure that expectant mothers are able to safely give birth to healthy baby girls and boys.hos
Through our support of the construction of a new hospital operated by our partner Hope Services in Cameroon, the Kebeneti SDA Dispensary in Kericho, Kenya, and numerous clinics operated by our partners in Sierra Leone, we have strived to save the lives of mothers and their young children.
We can sympathize with the millions of mothers in Sub-Saharan Africa who lose their children to easily preventable diseases and malnutrition and mourn the deaths of their children for the rest of their lives.
That sad fact was brought home to us in a recent report stating that while most parents living in industrialized countries today reasonably presume that their children will survive childhood, but child death remains woefully common in some parts of the world, particularly in certain Sub-Saharan African countries where a baby born is roughly 20 times more likely to die in early childhood than a baby born in the U.S. or Western Europe.
The Washington Post reported that 3.3 million children died in 2018 in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018 alone.
And it is their mothers who bear the burden of grief.
According to the study, between one-fourth and one-half of women in sub-Saharan Africa lost a child during their lifetimes, and more than 20 percent had lost a child younger than 5 years old.
“In the shadows of the high child mortality rates are millions of grieving mothers who bear the personal, social and martial costs of a child’s death,” states the study, which points to a “bereavement burden” that affects what women worry about, how they make decisions and even how healthy they are.
In Kenya, the good news is that remarkable progress has been made in improving child survival over the past three decades, but the sad news is that there is still a long way to go as one in every 19 children not reaching their fifth birthday.
Over the past two decades, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, untold thousands of children grew up healthy and today are living happy successful lives with children of their own because of the health care their mothers received while expecting, and the health care they received as children at the free and low-cost clinics and hospitals operated by our partners.
Mother’s Day isn’t just a day to celebrate our moms…it’s a day to celebrate our supermoms. You know who they are. Supermoms are the fearless heroes whose dedication and hard work has helped families across the world avoid hunger, illiteracy, and poverty. Cheers to you supermoms for using your powers to aid impoverished families and better our world.
Let May 10th be the day we highlight the supermom of Bread and Water for Africa® Phyllis Keino, “A Mother to Hundreds of Kenyan Children”.
Phyllis, today and every day, we salute you and your heroic actions. For nearly 40 years, you have dedicated your life to providing shelter, education, food, and unconditional love to the children of Kenya. When orphans had nowhere to call home, Lewa Children’s Home opened its doors to them.
Your efforts could have stopped there, but they didn’t. Phyllis, you noticed that older children in Kenya had limited access to education and put a plan into motion to change this. Your Kipkeino Primary School grants over 400 students a quality education every year. Without your honorable actions, many children would have faced uncertain fates. We are eternally grateful to you, Phyllis.
Asante Sana! (Thank You!)
From all of us at Bread and Water for Africa®
For more than 20 years, the primary mission Bread and Water for Africa® has been to find loving homes for orphaned, abandoned and destitute children throughout the continent, starting with the Lewa Children’s Home in Kenya, Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Zambia, and most recently the Lerato Children’s Village in Zimbabwe.
Throughout the years, there has had always been challenges to keep these children housed, fed, healthy, and educated, but with the deadly coronavirus pandemic making inroads into the African continent, times are worse than we, or anyone, has ever seen.
In Zimbabwe, the situation is increasingly dire as our longtime partner Margaret Makambira, founder and director of Shinga Development Trust, who we partnered with to construct the children’s village, struggles to keep the children under her care healthy and safe.
Even before the pandemic, Zimbabwe’s economy was in freefall, as hyperinflation sent food prices soaring with food inflation at more than 700 percent in December, according to an April 12 report in The Independent.
A persistent drought has devastated agricultural production for the past several years in a country that was once known as the breadbasket of Africa. In fact, because of the severe drought induced by climate change, of the last five growing seasons, only one has seen normal rainfall, reports The Independent.
To make matters even worse, “Experts predict that the upcoming 2020 harvest will be even poorer than those preceding it,” states The Independent report.
According to the United Nations World Food Program, there are 4.1 million Zimbabweans experiencing “crisis” or “emergency” food insecurity in a country of 16.5 million.
“With hunger peaking, the looming COVID-19 pandemic threatens to exacerbate Zimbabwe’s dire economic and hunger crises,” states The Independent.
And a recent World Food Program analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on food security estimates that the forthcoming agricultural season — so crucial for millions of Zimbabweans — may again be compromised, either by reduced agricultural labor because of the country’s lockdown or because of lack of access to agricultural inputs due to supply-chain disruptions.
Despite the distressing situation Margaret and children in her care are facing on a daily basis, they have something that millions of Zimbabwean children and families don’t — the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who for decades have given generously to provide them with the assistance they have needed not only to survive but to thrive.
Eddie Rowe, WFP’s country director and representative for Zimbabwe, is adamant that its operations must and will continue uninterrupted by the coronavirus.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we share that commitment to Margaret and “her” children, never to give up providing them food and basic necessities in their greatest time of need in their entire lives.