The beginning of a child’s life should be filled with adoring smiles and gentle lullabies, not a time for caregivers to be overwhelmed with anxiety and dread, wondering how they will juggle another mouth to feed.
04 Dec, 2023
But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can help change the story for vulnerable infants by supporting the Mums and Babies program through giving a Gift of Compassion.
About 40 million children under the age of 5 are projected to die between 2022 and 2030. Devastatingly, half of these deaths are estimated to be newborns, and most are preventable or treatable. Through supporting Mums and Babies, you can reduce child mortality rates and give these little ones a second chance at a full and flourishing life.
Sarah is a 26-year-old from New South Wales who has been funding an entire Mums and Babies project in Indonesia for the last year. She became a Compassion sponsor several years ago but hadn’t heard about other ways to give through Compassion.
Last Christmas, when a Gifts of Compassion email landed in Sarah's inbox, something in her knew this was an opportunity to make a lasting difference.
“I’ve never been to Indonesia and didn't know much about the culture, but when I saw the Mums and Babies project, I felt very called to it,” she says. “I don’t have my own kids, but I am an aunty. At that point, my niece was one and my nephew was three, and I thought about them and what it would be like if they didn’t have support and access to healthcare and other things they should.”
Through Sarah's support of this project, the lives of 30 mums and babies have been changed in the past 12 months. In close partnership with their local church, caregivers in this Indonesian community have received access to local health services, training and education, and developed a close support network.
The first year of life is fragile, and for mothers and babies living in poverty, survival often depends on the support and care they receive. With your help, these new mums can have someone walking beside them every step of the way.
Through the Mums and Babies survival project, caregivers are equipped with knowledge around prenatal and postnatal care through regular home visits and are resourced with nutritious food so they can support the growth and development of their children.
This support is critical to mums like Jeni who live in rural communities in Indonesia and often lack access to crucial information regarding the care of their newborn children.
Jeni lives in a village with her husband and their three children, but she’s never fully recovered from a tragedy that happened due to lack of knowledge around immunisations.
“My baby died when she was four days old. Her body was yellow, and her death was sudden. I was traumatised by that incident,” Jeni explains. “I felt guilty for not being able to help my baby. At that time, my knowledge about parenting was minimal.”
Since being registered in the Mums and Babies program, Jeni receives practical support and the guidance and knowledge she needs to care for her new baby.
“All the staff at the [project] are always patient and slow when explaining material for discussion or other information,” says Jeni. “We are given as much opportunity as possible to ask questions anytime.”
In recognition of her financial support for the project, Sarah receives quarterly updates filled with statistics and photos of what is happening in the field. She says her worldview has been broadened and challenged through the photos she’s seen and the testimonies she’s received from mothers like Jeni.
“I have a 9–5 job. I go to work, and at times, it's easy to forget about things that are going on in the world,” she says. “Receiving the project updates made me aware of what it is like for these families going through these things. It really opened my eyes. I feel so blessed to have grown up the way I have, and it really put things in perspective.”
Compassions’ Mums and Babies program aims to ensure both the child and their caregiver are physically healthy, are encouraged in their ability to build healthy relationships, equipped with life skills and given the opportunity to hear the gospel.
As a Christian born and raised in the Western world, Sarah said that she feels challenged to consider her resources and how she is stewarding the blessings and funds that she has in her name.
“Sometimes I think that if Jesus returned tomorrow, all my money sitting in the bank would do nothing. Obviously, we should be wise stewards, but I’m convicted sometimes when I think about what I’m doing with what I’m earning,” she says. “Our worldview can be very self-focused. People are focused on what they can get out of life and how they can be happier—but as Christians especially, that’s not really what we’re here for.”
Today you have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable. You could provide a baby living in poverty with a care package, or support a new mum who needs a bit of extra encouragement. Or, like Sarah, you could even nurture a whole new generation through a Mums and Babies project.
Every little bit counts. Thank you for helping create a safer, kinder world.
Words by Sarah Moore, with field reporting by Vera Aurima.
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