Malnutrition prevented Pal from developing like other children his age. Thanks to nutritional support and stimulation therapy from Humanity & Inclusion, Pal can now sit, stand and walk on his own.
Pal, 11 months, and his mother, Nyayual, 34, live in Nguenyyiel refugee camp, Gambella, Ethiopia. Originally from Nasir, South Sudan, Nyayual was forced to flee her home in 2017 due to war and unstable conditions. After leaving her husband in the conflict, Nyayual is raising her five children as a single mother in the camp and working as a cleaner.
Living in the refugee camp, Nyayual faces a lack of resources, insufficient finances and increasing drought, which makes it difficult for her children to access food and nutrition.
Malnutrition has a particularly strong impact on babies and young children, like Pal, who are still developing their minds and bodies. Malnutrition and undernutrition are major contributors to infant mortality, disease and disability. Children may present with motor and cognitive developmental delays, associated with behavioral and communication problems. These can consolidate over time and lead to irreversible disabilities if left untreated. Most neurological disorders related to malnutrition are preventable.
“I was very worried about my baby,” says Nyayual. “His growth rate was slow and he was unable to sit without support like other children his age.”
Overcoming development challenges
Nyayual brought her son to Humanity & Inclusion to start stimulation therapy sessions and receive emergency nutritional supplies. Early childhood stimulation therapy for malnourished children stimulates motor skills and cognitive development through personalized care and play with toys. Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation specialists developed the therapy to be used alongside emergency nutrition, rehydration and essential medical care initiatives to give children the best chance of survival, resilience and improved health. quality of life.
After attending sessions with her mother, Pal began to show improvements. He can now sit without any support, stand on his own and has recently started to walk independently. Nyayual also learned skills to continue Pal’s progress at home.
“Being able to play with peers and siblings at home also helps Pal improve his social interactions and learn certain gestures, which improves his language skills,” says Gadisa Obsi, physiotherapist for Humanity & Inclusion in Ethiopia.
It has been five months since Pal’s family began receiving nutritional support from Humanity & Inclusion, and Nyayual says she is very pleased with her son’s performance, which is now in line with his age group. Pal’s favorite activities are dancing and “drumming” by banging on household objects. His favorite dish is mashed potatoes with milk.
“My ultimate goal is to see him go to school,” Nyayual says. “I hope one day he can become an educated person who will bring real change to our family.”
These actions are funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and implemented by Action Against Hunger, Humanity & Inclusion and other partner organizations.