Across the world, women who live in the grasp of poverty face extreme difficulty bringing a child into the world. For many mothers, what should be a joyful time is impeded by a lack of resources, access to basic healthcare and anxiety about not being able to provide for their newborn.

Millions of children around the world die within their first year of life due to a lack of resources, delivery complications, malnutrition and preventable diseases.

The Compassion Mums and Babies Survival Program focuses on promoting the development and survival of the most vulnerable babies, while also providing education and support for the mother or primary caregiver. Edene is one such mother.

Edene found Compassion’s survival program in her village when she most needed it. Five months pregnant with her son and barely making ends meet, she was in a desperate situation. Her life changed when she joined the program.

Edene found restoration and hope for the future through discovering God's love for her and through the support she received from the staff at the program.

Read her story below.

5925 IWD-2021 Blog-2-Text-Image-(Edene) 600x250px 01

How have you seen the work of Compassion’s church partner impact your community?

I heard about the work of Compassion’s survival program from the mothers in my neighbourhood. I was five months pregnant and I was in desperate need of help since I didn’t have work and my husband’s income didn’t match our need. I had seen mothers take care of their babies and I had always wondered how they did it. I realised it was because of the support they were getting from the church. The impact is significant. I have witnessed it in the life of those around me and now I can attest to the transformation it has brought about in my own life.

Can you tell us about your story and how you came to join the program?

I was five months pregnant when I joined the program. There was no food in the house and the only income we had was from my husband’s daily work. It was not regular. The first thing Compassion’s church partner did for me was to provide me with food items and milk. They also took care of all my medical needs and provided me with various training. After my son was born, they gave us clothing for him and the food supplies continued. My son is thriving because of the provisions they give us. The nutritional food I cook for him like porridge and milk are items I could never have afforded, but they provide these for us. Because of their support, we use the little money we earn to cover other expenses like rent and food. We don’t worry about how we are going to feed or clothe our baby.

How has being part of Compassion’s survival program impacted your own life?

Before I joined the program, I was very bitter towards God because of the things that had happened in my life. I even doubted if there was a God. I had many questions. But after I joined the program and started attending trainings and bible study sessions, I have come to understand who God is. I have learned to be thankful in all circumstances. I now advise new mums who are in the same position that I was.

I tell them to trust the Lord and to be thankful.

I have also found other mothers in the program who are passing through the same struggles. I don’t have friends in my neighbourhood, but here in the program I have made many friends. I discuss what we what learned with them and share my challenges openly. I forget my loneliness when I come and talk to them. I have peace of mind when I’m here.

It is not just a lack of money that creates stress in your life; you need to have people who understand you and share your burdens. I have those kinds of people here at the program—the mothers as well as the staff.

5925 IWD-2021 Blog-2-Text-Images-(Survival 1) 600x250px 01

Has the life of Jesus Christ inspired you as a woman? If so, how?

Learning about the love of God at the program has changed me a lot. Like I mentioned, I used to be bitter and complain a lot with the way my life had turned out. I lost my parents when I was ten years old and my grandmother, who was very old, raised me. I didn’t have siblings. I couldn’t continue my education because she couldn’t afford to send me to school anymore. I ended up getting married at a young age. All this made me angry at God. I used to doubt whether God cared about me or that He even noticed that I exist.

I have learned that God cares and that He does love me. I am very thankful now. I’m content with the little I have. Thinking about God helps me forget my struggles. I have learned to share from the little I have. Previously, that was not the case. I used every means possible to fulfill my needs but now if I see a mother struggle, I offer to help from the little that I have. This change of attitude came from what I learned at the program. God will provide and helping others is fulfilling.

What does it mean for you to be known, loved and connected to Jesus Christ through the local church?

I feel respected and heard whenever I come here. The staff are very welcoming, and they care about each one of us. When I come here, I feel like I have found my mother and father. Their encouragement and advice helps me to look at life in a different way. I won’t be exaggerating when I say that after sharing my heart with them, the advice they give me feels like it is coming straight from Heaven. I feel like God uses them to speak to my situation. I see God through them.

5925 IWD-2021 Blog-2-Text-Images-(Survival 2) 600x250px 01

How does your community view the role of women? What do you think about this?

Women, especially in my neighbourhood, struggle a lot since they don’t make enough money to sustain themselves and their family. Due to this, they end up making bad decisions that compromise their health and their life. They get married and remarried trying to find someone to support them financially. I decided to get married because there was no one who could support me. I am happy with my marriage, but I wish I had the opportunity to finish high school. Many women are like this. Even if they want to stay in school, lack of resources pushes them into a life of early marriage and once they start having children, the chance of fulfilling their dreams fades.

What does restoration mean for you?

For me, restoration is not just about having enough money to get out of your struggles. Restoration is mainly a change of mindset. When the way I thought and how I valued life changed, that’s when I started to appreciate life. Before I came to the program, what depressed me a lot was the fact that I was going to let my child experience poverty and the unfairness of this world, just like I experienced it.

I blamed myself for not being able to break that cycle. When I think about it now, I am glad I have him because God is the one who takes care of him.

I have peace of mind and I’m joyful whenever I see my son.

What would a good day look like for you? How would you describe it?

A good day for me is when I come to the program every Wednesday. I never miss it. It is the day when we all gather, attend training, fellowship and have coffee together. I forget everything when I come here every Wednesday. That day is special for me as it gives me the opportunity to interact with other mothers and learn from their experiences.

Don't just pass by. Stop, Listen and Act.

Edene is one of a multitude of women all across the world who face significant challenges due to poverty and its detrimental effects. This International Women’s Day, we are choosing to draw attention to and amplify the voices of women just like Edene.

Women who have incredible resilience, show extraordinary strength and embody what it means to live courageously in the face of adversity.

Their stories deserve to be heard.

We can all choose to stop, listen and act.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of these women.

Restore hope and dignity.

Let’s be part of a solution more powerful than poverty!

Find out how you can be a part of the story.