Knitted blankets keep babies warm during South Sudan’s cold season
“The blanket has helped in keeping my babies warm”, says Joy, a 20-year-old mother of twin boys, Joel and Joshua living in Juba, South Sudan’s capital. Prior to getting married, Joy was a student in senior 2 dreaming to become a lawyer.
“I love going to school. I admired educated women, and there are very few of them in my village. My dream was shattered when I started dating the father of my children. My attention was soon divided between school and my relationship. Then I got pregnant”, she shares.
When her family learned about her pregnancy, she was urged to get married. “My husband admitted he was the one responsible and he agreed to marry me. We live with his family and I dropped out of school”, says Joy.
Life became challenging for her. “My husband is jobless. My mother-in-law provides for the family all the basic needs of life like food and medicine”, she adds. She got to know World Vision when she was three months pregnant and sought treatment at Gumbo Primary Health Care Center (PHCC). She was not feeling well and decided to go see a doctor.
At the PHCC, the doctor referred her to World Vision’s nutrition program for treatment. “I was welcomed by Rahama Bullen, a community nutrition worker who took my measurements and told me I was malnourished”, she shares.
Joy was given two packets of Corn Soy Blend++ (CSB++) and told to go back to the center after two weeks. “During my next visit, I was given a blanket, two more packets of CSB++ and advised to eat well and avoid stress”, she further adds.
I have too many regrets about my situation in life but the advice I got from World Vision’s nutrition team made me look at life positively.
Joy is grateful for the support. She said she used to worry about her drastic weight loss which was now averted. “I have too many regrets about my situation in life but the advice I got from World Vision’s nutrition team made me look at life positively”, she says.
Funded by UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP), World Vision’s initiative reached a total of 126,104 children, 66,563 of them girls, aged 6-59 months in its 15 nutrition sites in Juba.
A total of 255 mothers were provided with knitted blankets in Gumbo, Don Bosco and Gurei Nutrition sites. The knitted blankets are from World Vision Australia’s Gift-In-Kind (GIK) program.
“When I received the blanket, I ticked one of my needs for the children. I used to cover them with our bed sheets during the cold season from April to October. My mother in-law is the only one supporting me to buy my children’s clothes”, Joy adds.
She is excited for the twins. “At day time, I lay them on the blanket to sleep or play and continue with my other house chores. I will treasure it as it made our life convenient. Thank you for the thoughtful gift for my children who now sleep happily and do not cry at night”, she shares.
World Vision’s Nutrition Manager Komakech Mandela says, “The blankets distributed are really supporting the mothers to protect and keep their children warm during the cold season. The weather exposes the children to pneumonia and the blankets serve a great purpose preventing the children catching the disease.”
Story and photos by Jemima Tumalu, Communications Officer