Donations needed to help Zoe and Nurture Project International give children a better start in life
According to the UN Refugee Agency 164,000 refugees have arrived in Greece by sea so far this year – an average of 150 a day. Of these 38% are children and 21% women. An estimated one in ten of these women are pregnant and face the stark reality of giving birth whilst still living in one of the many refugee camps established throughout Greece. These facilities are often way over-capacity and conditions are far from ideal for caring for a young child.
Throughout the world, malnutrition is one of the key preventable causes of death in young children – underlying a third of the 9 million deaths in this age group that sadly happen per year. Infants under the age of one living in poor conditions are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition and infection and make up 70% of child deaths worldwide. During emergencies, pregnant women, babies and young children are even more vulnerable.
So what can be done to help these vulnerable women and their babies? Research has shown that supporting early and continued breastfeeding is the most effective intervention to reduce under five deaths. Breastfeeding is the ideal nutrition for babies and reduces the risk of infections – increasing the likelihood of survival by a massive 6 times!
Nurture Project International is a charity that has been set up to support women in refugee camps to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth, and to support them in the lifesaving act of breastfeeding their new-borns. They rely on qualified volunteers – midwives, infant feeding consultants, dietitians and nutritionists who give their time for free and pay for their own travel, accommodation and food costs. In September I will be volunteering with them in two refugee camps near Thessaloniki, Greece. As a paediatric dietitian I will be helping where needed, supporting breastfeeding, advising on alternatives where necessary and on introducing complementary foods from 6 months, hoping to make my own modest contribution to giving these children a better start in life. The team also provides clean facilities for washing babies, packs containing nappies, snacks and sanitary items to mums and much more.
How can you help? The best help is in money. The items that the charity needs are bought locally to also support the local economy in Greece. Please consider helping this great cause. Below you can see far your donation will go. Thanks!