The Mukono Baby Room: Spotlight on Nutrition
UNICEF estimates that around 2.3 million children in Uganda are chronically malnourished. Indeed, the majority of children in the Mukono Baby Room came to the Tenderhearts Healing Home severely ill from malnutrition.
Chronic poverty, neglect due to parental alcoholism or drug abuse, misguided beliefs about feeding practices, prematurity, loss of a parent, HIV infection or other infectious diseases, and food insecurity are all contributing factors to the issue of childhood malnutrition.
Many children like Judah are truly on the brink of death from starvation when they arrive at Tenderhearts Healing Home. Judah was severely underweight when he arrived at the Mukono Baby Room at 18 months old.
Look at this handsome boy now after ten months of good nutrition and tender care!
Ken, Cathy and the healing home staff do an absolutely amazing job of rehabilitating babies like Judah. They usually require a regimen of IV rehydration therapy as well as special formula and highly nutritious foods to help little bodies recover and begin to catch up on the growth that they missed.
Once the children have been rehabilitated and are restored to better health, they can start being spoon-fed porridge and other solids. If they are toddlers, they move to being allowed to feed themselves. which is always an adventure!
Vera, seen above, gets the chance to explore her food. Little does she know that she is getting the chance to refine her sensory-motor skills while she eats and plays with her food. It may make for messy faces and clothing but is SO good for her development.
Mealtimes in the Mukono Baby Room home are communal and relaxed, with children and caretakers sitting together. The children are always allowed to take their time and enjoy their food. Pinto bean soup is a staple on the menu, served with the Ugandan starchy staple called posho (made from finely ground white corn flour), as well as rice and vegetables.
Due to a worsening drought in East Africa, food costs have risen sharply in Uganda, meaning that the home has had to spend a much greater proportion of their funds on food. In an effort to help support their increased nutrition costs, we recently started a nutrition-specific fund for the Mukono Baby Room. If you or anyone you know might be interested in an ongoing nutrition sponsorship or a one-time donation to support this crucial need, please visit our donation page and put “Mukono Baby Room Nutrition” in the comments section.
Another exciting way to help the babies here is to become a sponsor of an individual child. Sponsoring a specific child means that you are helping to support that child financially at the healing home and helping to pay for associated costs such as food, clothing, nanny salaries, and general medical care. Our sponsors tell us that they really enjoy receiving regular reports and photos of the child they sponsor. For $50 a month, or $25 for a shared sponsorship, you can make a real difference in the life of one of these precious children in need.
Judah, Ian, Amara, and Lily give three cheers for their sponsors and supporters of the Mukono Baby Room!