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Firdosa’s Battle with Hunger
(11 May 2006)
Firdosa
Four-year-old Firdosa is able to play once again after recovering from severe malnutrition.

Four-year-old Firdosa is playing once again. She loves to play Hide-and-Seek and a game called "ie-ie" (similar to ‘Jacks’), where she throws pebbles in the air while grabbing stones from the ground.

The sight of her playful young child is pleasing to any mother, but for Firdosa’s mother the scene is especially precious.

Malnutrition

Just five weeks ago Firdosa was on the verge of severe malnutrition. She was weak and sick with no energy to play. Her mother explains that she cannot afford to buy milk and had very little food due to the drought.

Three years of poor rains has devastated this family, who live in the small village of Lafey, in north-eastern Kenya. Many villagers arrived here as refugees fleeing from clan conflicts in neighbouring Ethiopia or Somalia.

Dying Livestock

In the Mandera District where Firdosa lives, 75 percent of the households are at risk of hunger. Most people depend on livestock for their livelihood and the drought has killed off between 50 and 75 percent of their animals.

Firdosa's family depended on their animals for milk, meat and money - but only 3 cows remain alive out of a herd of 200, and only 20 goats from 150. Few of the surviving animals produce any milk.

Hunger


IR aid workers weigh a child

Malnutrition leaves children vulnerable to lethal diseases. Luckily for Firdosa, Islamic Relief is providing life-saving food supplements for malnourished children in her area. Firdosa joined IR's Nutritional Feeding Programme, and is now on the path to recovery.

Around 1,750 other children and pregnant or nursing mothers are also successfully fending off malnutrition due to Islamic Relief's efforts. Trained staff are monitoring the progress of everyone admitted to the Feeding Programme and have reported that over 100 children have fully recovered from malnutrition so far.

Time is critical and IR is working fast to ensure that vulnerable women and children in this remote area of Kenya are brought back from the brink of starvation.

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