It’s been one year since we welcomed babies Pamela Grace, Faith and Christine into the world. We’ve followed their first year of life through the lens of a camera, capturing their first special milestones.

In 2017, 75 per cent of all under-five deaths occurred within a child’s first year of life. In the African region, the risk of a child dying before they turn one is the highest in the world.

For women in developing countries, the saddening reality is that many find themselves struggling to access resources and support during pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.

Meet Kate, Rahuma and Juliet: three women raising their babies in Uganda. Poverty means life is challenging, but help is at hand.

These three beautiful mamas and their babies are involved in one of Compassion's Mums and Babies survival projects. This means they receive practical, emotional and spiritual support—taking them through the journey of pregnancy—to the first year of their babies’ lives and beyond. Take a look and see what their journey has been like.

Newborn: The first time they saw the world

Mama Kate and baby Pamela Grace

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I was 41 weeks by the time the baby came. She was three kilograms and her name is Pamela Grace, after the Compassion staff member [who helps us].

The project staff have been regularly visiting us and Pamela and I have also been walking over there to [the program activities at] the church. It is such a wonderful feeling to have their support, especially as I’m a single mother.

All I want is for this baby to be healthy and to be educated.

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I wash her three times a day to make sure she stays clean, and I also put baby powder and lotion on her body so that she has a good smell and her skin is in good condition.

I love this baby, I have so much love for her.

Mama Rahuma and baby Faith

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I still think about the fact that when we went to the hospital, we were two and now we are three. I feel so proud that she [Faith] is my baby; I feel very good about being a mother. The responsibility has been good as it’s given me things to do. When she is awake, I play with her, otherwise she is sleeping or feeding or bathing well. When I look at her, I can see that she is calm and peaceful.

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We named her Faith as we hope she has a faith in God. We also named her Faith as I had to have great faith that she would survive.

Mama Juliet and baby Christine

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[After I married] I fell pregnant quickly and I used to fall sick frequently. We didn’t have money and so sometimes even when I was sick, I couldn’t afford the transport to get the hospital, let alone the doctor’s fee.

They told me that I might lose the baby and I was very worried.

It was around this time that the Compassion project approached me about becoming registered into their program after a member of the church committee saw that we were in need. I was four months’ pregnant. I remember feeling like my heart could rejoice and my hope was restored.

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From the time I got this baby my life has completely changed. She is a source of joy. Before, I would keep around here at the house when Tata [my husband] was at work. But now there is somebody to speak to, someone to laugh with.

Three months old: Recognising Mama

Mama Kate and baby Pamela Grace

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The last three months have been going by well. I think the most significant thing that’s happened is that Pamela’s Father, Wasswa came to the church and committed his life to Christ. None of us were expecting that and we’ve been very surprised.

Mama Rahuma and baby Faith

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I am so happy with my baby. She has been sleeping well, feeding well and I feel like things are settling down.

Mama Juliet and baby Christine

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Christine is doing really well! She’s healthy and so am I.

Six months old: Curiosity awakens

Mama Kate and baby Pamela Grace

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I’ve gone back to work and decided to sell fish. I thank God that we have not been sick. Every day I wake up at six o’clock and go and buy fish. After that I come back home, bath the baby and prepare us to come to work selling the fish. When I leave early in the morning my neighbour keeps an eye on the kids.

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I love my daughter very much. She gives me much joy. Even when I come back home from getting the fish she gets excited. She can sit now and enjoys playing with rattles. She’s trying to crawl.

Mama Rahuma and baby Faith

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Baby Faith is doing so well. She can smile so much. Faith can now sit up. She is also active!

I get up every day at six o’clock, light the charcoal stove, wash the utensils and clean the room we live in. I then prepare breakfast, bath and feed her milk for breakfast. After that I wash up the utensils and prepare lunch. We then take a rest together. After her nap I bath the baby and prepare for her a drink. Seeing her grow up and all the changes she is going through makes me happy.

Mama Juliet and baby Christine

Christine is doing fine. She is attaining everything she is supposed to do. She is trying to crawl! She is also sitting. When she sees familiar items, she is so excited. She likes play items, especially shakers.

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I am so much in love with my daughter. I want to buy her everything. She cannot annoy me!

Nine months old: Personalities evolve

Mama Kate and baby Pamela Grace

We have been doing good. I can converse with the child now; we can even play together. At this point in time she likes playing with her friends and she likes moving around on the ground and finding things to play with. She likes playing with the plates especially. She can now sit by herself and is trying to stand.

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If I’m going out though she struggles and cries for me. If I’m singing, she wants to sing with me. When Pamela sees Patricia (her five-year-old sister) she gets very happy and excited to see her coming home from school. Patricia is her best friend.

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Pamela is very active. She is going to be a very intelligent child. She likes to play. She likes her doll and her rattle. She loves being held by me and is very peaceful.

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Mama Rahuma and baby Faith

Things have been going well! She had a flu and cough but is now better. Faith is able to stand with the support of a jerry can. She’s also crawling! She’s doing everything very fast. Faith has also had her first haircut.

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Faith is eating all the food I give her, but she likes matoke better than Irish potatoes and rice. She also likes watermelon and apples. She has four teeth.

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I want her to have a sponsor. I think about it a lot. It is a big thing to me. I worry about whether or not she will get one. If she did, I would not worry because my daughter would have someone to help us come out of the situation we are in.

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Mama Juliet and baby Christine

These days Christine does not want to stay down, she just wants her Mama. She is supposed to be crawling and standing but she just wants to be with me. I can see that she has a sense of ownership and attachment and I like that. Even when she is with someone else, if she sees me, she’ll put out her hands to come to me. She also likes it when other babies associate with her.

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First birthday: An important milestone

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Mama Kate and baby Pamela Grace

On Pamela’s first birthday, we didn’t have any money so we didn’t give any presents to her, but we celebrated all the babies’ birthday at the project. Our lives have been moving on well. Pamela has begun saying ‘Mama’, ‘Tata’. Her favourite food is Irish potatoes. For breakfast she has milk and porridge. She might have banana. Pamela likes things that shake. She also likes baby dolls and is crawling now.

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I’ve learnt a lot over this past year—so many different things. When I had my first two children, I didn’t have access to antenatal care or much support. I just had to try and deal with it myself. But with Pamela I’ve had a lot of support.

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I want Pamela to be brought up [well] and educated. I don’t want her to just stop with school. I want her to be at a qualified level. I want her to grow up in church, praising the Lord and dancing for him. I was a teenage mother and I regret that I can’t take care of my family because I never finished school. I don’t want that for Pamela.

Mama Rahuma and baby Faith

The first year has moved very fast. Faith has started moving. But when you look at her, she sits down. She plays a game with me. If I’m not looking, she will walk. If I look, she stops. But I’ve seen her take around six steps now when she wasn’t looking.

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I used to wonder about what it would be like to have a baby; wonder what it’d be like to deliver and raise them up. I remember thinking it would be a difficult process. But now that she’s 14 months old I’m so excited about this baby.

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I have hopes that she will grow up well, get an education and a decent job. I want her to be God fearing and to love people.

Mama Juliet and baby Christine

When we go to church she starts clapping when they sing the song ‘Baby Jesus’. She tries to mimic them. Then she dances. She can say ‘Mama’. And she learnt how to walk one week after her first birthday.

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Christine loves playing a lot. She knows how to clap, high five and hug. If I have a dress hanging on the washing line, she can identify that it is Mummy’s dress even if it’s in the middle of our neighbour’s clothes.

I pray for Christine that she will be a kind lady and get good friends. I want her to be God-fearing, to have wisdom and to study well. I want her to become a doctor, then when I fall sick I can call on my doctor daughter.

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I think I’d like to have two kids. Even though I’d like to produce many, caring for them is quite a challenge!


Being pregnant, having young children, and living in poverty creates numerous challenges for families, especially for women who have no support network within their community. Together, we can reduce the rate of infant mortality and equip struggling mothers towards a bright future.

Through the Compassion Mums and Babies survival projects, mothers gain confidence in their abilities, have hope for their child’s future and a supportive network to call upon.

Find out how you can empower mothers and babies today.

Photos and field interviews by Helen Manson

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