November 9, 2020

Answering NightCare's Toughest Questions

Answering NightCare’s Toughest Questions

Written by: McKenzie Thompson, Communications and Logistics Coordinator

NightCare is a novel and unique program that can be difficult for some people to grasp. We get several questions on the program as well-meaning people work to understand why it is needed. The two questions that we get the most are:

Why do you only help the babies and not their mothers?

By caring for the babies while their mothers work, are you supporting sex work?

First, allow me to paint you a picture of the harsh realities for babies and toddlers of sex workers.  

Babies and toddlers are vulnerable to whatever circumstances surround them, primarily because they’re too young to care for themselves. However, the babies and toddlers of sex workers are part of a world that no one should ever experience. They live in a world of constant fear, exploitation, mental and physical abuse, neglect, and more. At the young age of 5 and under, these little ones have one of three choices for survival:

  1. Go to work with their mothers – whether that is in a brothel or on the streets.
  2. Stay at home alone all night – free to roam the streets, be kidnapped, or hurt themselves.
  3. Stay with a family member or neighbor – which often leads to neglect, abuse, or trafficking.

There is no good option for these babies and toddlers. There is no lesser of two evils.

They live in a perpetual state of worry, fear, trauma, and uncertainty. Even worse, they have no choice. They are trapped. By providing NightCare, we give these babies and toddlers a place to stay at night, so they aren’t exposed to the sex industry and later become a part of it.  According to a study conducted by ECPAT called “The Sexual Exploitation of Children in Southeast Asia,” 20% of victims of sexual exploitation around the world are children. We hope that NightCare can help end the cycle for these precious babies before it’s too late. 

When our founder, Sarah, went on a trip to Cambodia several years back, she stumbled upon three babies sleeping on the sidewalk, amidst the city’s hustle and bustle, with no guardian in sight. She also met a three-year-old girl who was forced by her mother to sell condoms.

Answering NightCare's Toughest QuestionsAs Sarah became more familiar with sex work in the developing world, she realized that these situations are prevalent. She also learned that while many organizations were doing great work within the sex industry, they only focused on sex workers. No one was taking care of their babies and toddlers.

After this realization, Sarah began to think of how we could help those left most vulnerable in these situations (babies). 

They have no voice of their own, so we speak up for them.

They need someone to look at them and say, “I see you, and I have not forgotten about you.” Someone to help them stop the cycle and give them a better opportunity. That is what Saving Moses does for these innocent babies who are in these situations by no fault of their own.

Answering NightCare's Toughest Questions

Our mission statement says we meet “the most urgent and intense survival needs where help is least available.” This declaration is at the forefront of our minds in everything we do.

When we:

  • Survey a new country to open a program
  • Explore the need in a particular region
  • Work with other organizations.

 We saw that giving babies a safe place to stay, away from brothels and the streets of red-light districts, is an immensely urgent need that no one else was meeting. Therefore, NightCare was born.

By caring for the babies while their mothers work, are you supporting sex work? 

The sex industry is complex, where there are no easy or simple answers. The roots and causes of sex work are interwoven deep within the country’s culture and tied to class, poverty, and trafficking. Many of these women grow up in an industry where they are highly stigmatized and unable to escape. Sex work often goes on for generations. Many lack access to quality healthcare, and pregnancy is a common byproduct of their work. And if health and safety are taught to the mothers, it is almost always neglected in the children, according to this informative article written by Global Citizen, “The Dangerous Conditions Facing Newborn Babies of Sex Workers.” 

Answering NightCare's Toughest Questions

We believe the best way to reach a mother’s heart is by protecting her most valued treasure – her children. We love these mothers, and we know how heartbreaking it is for them to always fear for their child’s safety. If mothers ask us for help, we will refer them to trusted organizations in the area for what they need. 

Our goal is to remain true to our mission – “saving babies (5 & under) every day by meeting the most urgent and intense survival needs where help is least available.” 

November 9, 2020

Answering NightCare’s Toughest Questions

Answering NightCare’s Toughest Questions Written by: McKenzie Thompson, Communications and Logistics Coordinator NightCare is a novel and unique program that can be difficult for some people to grasp. We get several questions on the program as well-meaning people work to understand why it is needed. The two questions that we ... Read More»

October 1, 2020

Why Should I Care About Babies Across the World? Executive Director, Heidi Cortez, feeding therapeutic milk to a malnourished baby in Angola.

WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT BABIES ACROSS THE WORLD? 

By: Director of Operations, Heidi Cortez

In global humanitarian work, there is a question we are often asked- Why should I care about what happens to babies and toddlers I will never meet that live in a country I will never visit? Or why should I help babies and toddlers in other countries when there is a need here in the US? Here are some reasons why we do the work that we do: 

A Commitment to a Bigger Backyard  

One of my friends spent several months in South Sudan working in education. People would ask her why she didn’t work in the US or “in her own back yard.” Her response was, “I just have a bigger back yard than you.”  

Before we were a citizen of any country, we are a human. Our humanity is what connects us. It transcends all borders and divisions. While our experiences, culture, and language may differ, we have the same emotions, desires, and fears. Our humanity unites us. I have personally sat mother to mother with a lady in Cambodia who was suffering from Aids. We both cried because she expressed her desire to “just be a good mom,” an ache I share daily for my son.  

When we expand our backyard, we expand. We see the humanity in everyone and honor it. We expand our personal borders to caring about people we may never meet and countries we will never visit. We are better global citizens who have a deep care for others around the world. It fosters a love inside of us that is for everyone.  

A Commitment to Serving  

One argument for not helping those in other countries is that you do not know what that country needs unless you are from that country. You do not understand their culture, systems, language, and problems- so how can you help? For this, we wholeheartedly agree! We don’t know any of these things, so we work hand in hand with people on the ground who do. We tap into the local knowledge and perspectives of local people and utilize their knowledge to inform our programs. We have often adjusted our programs based on their insights. Our goal is to serve the local populations. We do not come with all the answers to save the day. No, we view ourselves as allies and helpers, not leaders and saviors.  

Why Should I Care About Babies Across the World? - Two children wearing masks and walking through trash near the railroad tracks.

A Commitment to Least Available  

While there are opportunities for change in the US, we are the wealthiest nation on the planet. We have the resources that many other countries do not. I am in no way saying our systems are perfect, and there is no need. But, we are much more equipped to help those in need. I have traveled to countries and have seen babies and toddlers living in extreme conditions. In Africa, I held babies and toddlers who were skin and bone, fighting for survival because of absolutely no nutrition. In Asia, I witnessed low to no services available for abused babies and toddlers stuck in the sex industry. These problems are widespread, affecting thousands upon thousands of babies and toddlers every year. Many of these foreign governments are either unwilling or unable to help, which is too heartbreaking to imagine.  

Why Should I Care About Babies Across the World? - NightCare Nannies

With all of these commitments, the main point is to do something, anything to help. For you, that may mean in your neighborhood, and that is okay. But for others, it may mean crossing country lines and helping a baby or toddler who needs it. If so, we would love to have you join us and save babies where help is most needed but least available.  

October 1, 2020

Why Should I Care About Babies Across the World?

In global humanitarian work, there is a question we are often asked- Why should I care about what happens to babies and toddlers I will never meet that live in a country I will never visit? Or why should I help babies and toddlers in other countries when there is a need here in the US?  Read More»

June 23, 2020

Work with Children, End Poverty

Work with Children, End Poverty - baby boy playing in the dirt.

Written by Regional NightCare Director, Matt Nathaniel

Note: Reference to children includes babies and toddlers too. 

The world, in general, is not in the way it ought to be. Our greatest concern is poverty. The genuinely poor are those robbed of the ability to make choices for themselves – the choice for safe and clean water, the choice of education, the choice of protection from abuse, the choice of medical care, the choice of participation, the choice of development and more.

Children are Almost Half of the World’s Extreme Poor

1 in 7 people live in extreme poverty, or over 900 million people live in extreme poverty. Of these, a shockingly high number are children. Specifically, 47% of all people living in extreme poverty across the world are 18 years old or younger. These poor children will grow up to be poor adults. It indicates the need for child rights intervention.

Children are the Most Excluded Social Group

Research says children are the most oppressed and excluded social groups. The exclusion of children is not only subjected to children who suffer from various physical, mental, and social disadvantages, but it’s an issue common among most children. The problem is with our understanding of who children are and how we see and treat them.

The Most Powerless Members of Society are Children

We often see children being punished or ill-treated or abused just because they cannot retaliate due to their limitations. Harming a child is not an act of power. It conveys the fact that we are powerless. The bitter truth is, when the child experiences abuse, it grows in fear and misplaced trust. The babies Saving Moses works with are often subjected to mistreatment, abuse, and torture, either by their mother or the clients. They are always at risk. 

Work with Children, End Poverty - two children playing in trash.

Finding the Poor

A decade ago, I visited a government-run orphanage home in the south of India. On my very first visit, I noticed something strange. Throughout the two hours I spent with the babies in that center, the babies remained quiet. It simply did not add up. Being a father of a five-year-old, I know how much sound (crying in particular), part of a child’s communication mechanism is – whether to acknowledge or revolt or negotiate or attract the attention. Those babies probably cried at one time. They once tried to acknowledge, revolt, negotiate, or attract the attention of others. But help probably never came. And they probably decided to accept their reality and remain silent. We must go in search of the poor. It must be us who should take those first steps. We have to find those in need. We must become intentional in the way we defend the rights of children.

Seeing the Potential in Each Child

Each child deserves the right to protection, but they also deserve the opportunity to unleash their potential as they grow. Can you imagine the opportunity we as adults have for creating an impact in the lives of the little ones? When we invest our resources in them, we invest not only in their future but also in the future of society. Investing in children’s life is a gesture for the common good. Children have the potential to become agents of change. 

Work with Children, End Poverty - a little girl doing her school work.

Children Transform Us

As much as we must commit to impact the lives of the young ones, we can experience transformation through them. When we begin to see the world through the eyes of a child, we can only become pure in our hearts and minds. Children have the untainted inner faculties for creative imagination, conscience, connectedness, and intuition. Every time we spend time with children and babies, we experience change, change for better.

Conclusion

Working with children is urgent in terms of their vulnerability; at the same time, it is an excellent opportunity for change because they are the future. Below are three principles we all should remember.

a. Care for children because they are the most vulnerable.

b. Invest in children because they are the future, and we can break the cycle of poverty.

c. Spend time with children because they change us for the better.

Work with Children, End Poverty - Cambodia Team Trip Member playing and laughing with a little girl in NightCare center.

June 23, 2020

Work with Children, End Poverty

Work with Children, End Poverty Written by Regional NightCare Director, Matt Nathaniel Note: Reference to children includes babies and toddlers too.  The world, in general, is not in the way it ought to be. Our greatest concern is poverty. The genuinely poor are those robbed of the ability to make choices for themselves – the... Read More»

October 3, 2019

Surviving the Underpass - Title Page

A guest post by Stephanie Drawdy, a Team Trip Volunteer from the summer of 2019.

There is a Southeast Asian community that once lived in a slum known as Plankville. Its citizens lived high above running sewage and maneuvered in and out of their homes on rickety boards that often gave way. Some, including little ones who had just learned to walk, would oftentimes fall into the refuse. So, when this community was relocated to a concrete underpass surrounded by weaving lanes of heavy traffic, this was considered an upgrade.

When I first stepped out of the tuk-tuk to visit this area, my senses were jarred. There was a stench in the air that is inevitable when the heat of Asia meets the corrals of toilets that line one wall of this community. Flickering light danced on the muddy narrow path leading into this village cluttered with trash and overpopulated with need. The mix of massive trucks and tiny mopeds, heavily laden with all manner of baskets and people, whizzed past. The cacophony of the passing engines creating a fitting soundtrack for the disturbing existence to which I bore witness.

Surviving the Underpass - children in Cambodia standing on a balcony with trash underneath them.

A gray film covered everything, from the rows of hand-washed laundry hung out to dry on makeshift lines to the rows of toddlers who called this place home. Their little heads popped out from behind blankets nailed to the entrances of cave-like homes and from behind concrete columns towering above our heads. One set of bright, dark eyes blinked at me. Then another. And another. Soon, a jovial brood had gathered – some smiling mischievously as they vied for attention; some hiding shyly behind their siblings. They paused, and then ran barefoot ahead of me through puddles of muck, looking over their shoulders as if to say, please follow. And so I did.Surviving the Underpass - a little girl in Cambodia standing in a mud puddle.

Turning the bend, I watched as this boisterous flock crawled onto the edge of the underpass and perched themselves beneath an improvised tent of tarps, sticks and string. Here, we played. And laughed. And spoke a language that needed no words. Older boys and girls flipped tiny decks of cards with impressive dexterity while the younger ones leaned in to watch. I watched too, as an overload of thoughts, emotions and concerns flashed through my heart and mind. At that moment, I fell in love with this ragtag bunch of Batman emblems, peace symbols, and endearing smiles.

When it was time for the group I was with to press on, one little boy, wearing only a long red American t-shirt, followed close behind. His bare feet and petite face were beautiful, yet marked with the filth of the underpass. He had held tightly to a small green toy truck and trailed it along the edge of a worn table as we played. The twinkle in his eyes and the playful giggle exuding from his belly belied his surroundings. He didn’t yet know the magnitude of lack he was borne into, the utter despair that his “facts” predicted for his future.

Surviving the Underpass - a painting by a volunteer of a toddler in the streets.
A water color painting by the author, Stephanie Drawdy.

The adults in that community have a sense of acceptance – they see no turn for the good on their horizon. Yet, they hold out hope for the next generation. They care for them with a loving tenderness. They give them everything they have, which is mostly love.

The despair emanating from that underpass was palpable; the need for hope and vision overwhelming. This is given one person at a time. And, Saving Moses is in the midst of communities like this doing just that – acting as a haven of hope to offer a different reality to babies and toddlers like my sweet little friends from the underpass. Saving Moses plants seeds of hope and vision into the future of the developing world, one unique soul at a time.

October 3, 2019

Surviving the Underpass

A guest post by Stephanie Drawdy, a Team Trip Volunteer from the summer of 2019. There is a Southeast Asian community that once lived in a slum known as Plankville. Its citizens lived high above running sewage and maneuvered in and out of their homes on rickety boards that often gave way. Some, including little... Read More»

August 29, 2019

Saving Moses - Who Are We Again? - Title Page

After visiting our website or scrolling through our social media, you probably have a solid idea of who Saving Moses is, but many people send in questions as to what exactly we do. Those questions may include: Why do we only care for babies ages zero to five? What happens to the babies after they turn six? Do we help the mothers as well? All of these are great questions, so we want to address them here over the next few months. Starting with “Why do we care for babies only ages zero to five?”

From the Beginning

Our founder’s name is Sarah Bowling. She is an international speaker and author, the co-host of Today with Marilyn and Sarah, and Co-Lead Pastor of Encounter Church. After meeting orphaned babies who had been abandoned and could not find an orphanage home in 2009, Sarah learned that many child-focused organizations do not offer aid to the zero to five population because of their specialized needs. As a result, she created an organization that would exist specifically to address the needs of the world’s most vulnerable population – babies.

Saving Moses is a global humanitarian organization saving babies (5 & under) every day by meeting the most urgent and intense survival needs where help is least available.

Our name, Saving Moses, derives from the story of Moses who was abandoned in the Nile river when he was an infant, then rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter. Without his rescue, Moses never would have grown up to become the leader he was. We believe these babies deserve the chance to grow up healthy and become someone great.

The Most Vulnerable, The Most Urgent

Let’s break it down. Why only babies five and under? As stated before, the zero to five population is the world’s most vulnerable. Why? Because they simply cannot provide for or protect themselves. Saving Moses - Who Are We Again? - Bangladeshi baby at NightCare.

While many wonderful organizations fight for children and adults in the developing world, often the zero to five age range is ignored due to a lack of knowledge and resources. Babies require so much more time, attention, food, diapers, etc. that many organizations actually cannot afford to care for them in addition to older children. When you really think about all of the people in the world in desperate need of help, it’s easy to picture the children and adults working tirelessly to find/provide food, clean water, education, healthcare, or jobs, but we try to picture the babies who literally cannot protect or provide for themselves and whose lives rely on the actions of others.

As a result, they are often the victims in wars, natural disasters and cycles of poverty or abuse and this is something we see a lot in our line of work. So, we fill the gap.

We do this by implementing our three programs, NightCare, Malnutrition Feeding, and Birth and Infant Aid, to the areas where help is most urgent but least available. These areas include Central Asia, South and South East Asia, The Middle East, and Africa.

NightCare

There are many organizations who exist to end the sex industry, but no one has addressed how to care for the thousands of babies and toddlers who are born as a result of it. Therefore, most of the babies who attend our NightCare clinics are the babies of sex workers. Some of these mothers choose this work, and some do not. However, we direct our focus to those babies born as a result of their work because babies out of NightCare are often tied to the beds their moms work in, locked in a dark closet alone, left with an abusive family member, or forced to work in a brothel, selling additional products to clients.Saving Moses - Who Are We Again? - One little boy and one little girl holding hands walking down abandoned railroad tracks.

At NightCare, we partner with the mothers and caregivers of the babies to change this reality and help provide a safe place for the babies to stay at night while their mothers work. The nannies working at the centers provide the little ones with a bath, clean clothes, and a warm, nutritious meal, every single night.

Malnutrition Feeding

Malnutrition contributes to 50% of childhood deaths in the developing world and it is a disease that is 100% preventable. It is an urgent need in an area where help doesn’t exist. That’s why you will see us continue to say “…by meeting the most urgent needs where help is least available.” Through this program, we administer life-saving therapeutic milk to babies suffering from severe acute malnutrition. These babies cannot work to provide food for themselves, they must rely on others. This is another reason why it is important for us to focus on this age group. However, there is an exception within this program, as we will also administer therapeutic milk to the mothers attending with their babies. We do this because after traveling several miles to bring their babies to our clinic and staying for their baby’s treatment, the mothers themselves were getting hungry because they had no food. This resulted in them pulling their babies from the program, so we began feeding them as well so their babies could continue getting the treatment they needed.

Saving Moses - Who Are We Again? - A malnourished baby in Angola being fed therapeutic milk by his mother.

BirthAid

Lastly, with our BirthAid program, we address the highest infant mortality rates in the world by teaching life-saving birth skills including training local community leaders to help their own community understand pregnancy, birth, and neonatal care. We also fund pregnancy and neonatal vaccinations, to protect vital populations from preventable diseases, as well as provide midwives for pregnant mothers. Many babies in the developing world die after birth because of a lack of knowledge and resources when it comes to neonatal care.


All our programs specifically target those who are marginalized by poverty, illness, and exploitation. There is a significant need for babies ages zero to five and we address that throughout our programs. We care about the mothers, we care about what happens to the babies after they’re past the age of five, but there are organizations already existing to tackle those issues.

Saving Moses addresses the need where the help is most urgent, but least available.


August 29, 2019

Saving Moses – Who Are We Again?

After visiting our website or scrolling through our social media, you probably have a solid idea of who Saving Moses is, but many people send in questions as to what exactly we do. Those questions may include: Why do we only care for babies ages zero to five? What happens to the babies after they... Read More»

July 9, 2018

One Photo I could not take - Title Page

By Lindy Hickman Copeland

People often ask me how I came to be a photographer. I didn’t go to school knowing that was my passion. I didn’t dream of it as a little kid. I simply took a camera on a year-long trip around the world and found that that little Sony was an extension of me—like finding a limb you didn’t know was lost. Since discovering this passion, there have been many images that stood out—those special instances where technology and reality collide to preserve a magical moment. And, of all the stories my camera has told, the one that truly unravels me is a photo I simply couldn’t take.

I traveled with Saving Moses to Angola in May. The mission was clear: Sarah (Saving Moses’ Founder) and I would visit malnutrition clinics and document the sweet babies receiving therapeutic milk, along with their mothers. What wasn’t clear, was how deeply this experience would challenge, move and shape me.

We spent the morning at our first clinic—holding, feeding and capturing images of those tiny little babies. I remember thinking how remarkable it was that these frail bodies held such mighty warriors. Their beautiful mothers—exhausted and overcome by worry—managed to greet us with such warmth and kindness. Some of them smiled and hugged us, even allowing us to coo at their babies and soak in the rare moments of giggles.

One photo I could not take - a mother holding her malnourished baby boy.

Sarah approached, worry etched on her face and weighing on her shoulders, “There’s a new baby who just arrived. It’s not good.”

I nodded, completely unaware of the weight of those words in this place. “Not good,” could mean so many things. As a person bent towards hoping against hope, I said a silent prayer for the best—sure that everything would work out in the end.

It didn’t, as sometimes it doesn’t—when there are no words to explain and no rhyme or reason to take refuge.

I remember seeing his hands first—a tiny fist wrapped in the loving palm of his mother. She laid across the bed with him, burying her face in the sheets and allowing her tears to soak into the white fabric. “Not good,” as it turns out, was altogether very bad.

I raised my camera to my eye, thinking that the scene would be different through that tiny window—that hope would live somewhere within that frame. My finger pressed gently against the shutter button to focus, but there was no click—no freezing time. This moment—where a fragile life hung in the balance and fought the final battles of a war it would lose—I simply couldn’t capture that. I’ve always thought that my job is to immortalize moments people don’t want to forget. So, what about the moments we all dread? What about the moments we live to forget?

One Photo I Could Not Take - a malnourished baby girl lying on the clinic bed.

After several seconds, I dropped the camera to my side. The only picture of this scene is one that resides in my mind. Perhaps some moments shouldn’t live forever.

I left the clinic that day heavy with the weight of defeat. Not only was this precious boy fighting his final battle, but I had failed to tell his story. I had failed him.

Before returning to the hotel, we made a quick stop to visit Belito, a young boy who received therapeutic milk from Saving Moses years earlier. “He’s grumpy,” Sarah told me. “He was even a grumpy baby. You’ll see.”

As we pulled up, a small, wiry boy appeared from inside the hut. He sat with Sarah, maintaining a stoic persona and, I suspect, concealing a wry smile, as we handed him a soccer ball and asked him how he’d been since their last visit. He was grumpy, but in a way that secretly sweet, old men are.

Sarah hugging Belito, who survived thanks to our malnutrition clinic.

It was there, on that dusty, dusk evening, that we sat in the afterglow of victory. Belito is alive. He is well. He is free to grow into the best (albeit grumpy) version of himself and it all began with some therapeutic milk 7 years ago. The realization struck me in a way that only hope can. And, my heart lifted just a little, knowing that for every story of a mother returning home with an empty blanket, there are dozens and hundreds more like Belito.

I sometimes imagine going back to Angola–years from now–lifting my camera to my eye and seeing a scene filled with the babies we met there. They aren’t sick. They aren’t fighting for life. They are just living. Like Belito, they are kicking up dust on a glowing Summer’s day, laughing with friends as they play soccer. I think about my finger hovering over that shutter button, focusing in and filling the frame with the precious moments of their lives that we’d rather not forget. Click.

A little malnourished boy smiling holding his cup of therapeutic milk.

Lindy Hickman Copeland is a photographer, videographer, and world traveler. You can learn more about her at www.lindyhickmanphoto.com

July 9, 2018

One Photo I Could Not Take

By Lindy Hickman Copeland People often ask me how I came to be a photographer. I didn’t go to school knowing that was my passion. I didn’t dream of it as a little kid. I simply took a camera on a year-long trip around the world and found that that little Sony was an extension... Read More»

June 12, 2018

Why you will see fewer faces from us - title page

If you love Saving Moses, it’s because we save and protect babies.

Sometimes, this means protecting them against the threat of death by malnutrition. Sometimes, it’s the threat of abuse and exploitation by the sex industry. Today, this means taking a close look at our own policies and saying, “We can do more.”

After careful thought and much discussion, we have decided as an organization to change our child protection policy in the media.

The sex industry is so heavily stigmatized. In some countries, being identified as the child of a sex worker means that you do not get admittance to school, cannot receive medical care, or are ostracized from your community. We cannot control who views the images or videos we put online and are not willing to expose babies to harassment or danger. This is why things must change.

What this means for you:

  1. Fewer Faces

There will be fewer faces in our pictures and videos. If a baby or mother’s face is concealed, it is because we have identified that sharing their image puts them in danger. If a face is shown, it is either a representation or the image of a child we have identified is not in danger.

  1. New Names

All names are changed for the protection of the baby or toddler. We will use culturally-appropriate pseudonyms to tell true stories.

  1. Countries, Major Cities, or Regions Only

Specific locations will be concealed so that people with intent to harm cannot locate the people with whom we work.

We know that we work with really cute kids, and it helps you as an interested partner or donor to see their smiling faces. We recognize that at times, it may feel that the images of little hands or little feet are less compelling. But our responsibility is to the babies and toddlers we serve first.

It is our sincere hope that you will partner with us in understanding this need for protection and that you will joyfully join us in saving babies every day where help is most urgent but least available.

This change will take time as we phase out certain content and develop more. If you have questions concerning our new child protection policy, feel free to reach out at info@savingmoses.org.

Child protection policy - a little boy's hands and feet.A baby's hands covering her face to comply with our child protection policy.A mother holding her baby in NightCare with their faces covered to comply with our child protection policy.

June 12, 2018

Why You Will See Fewer Faces From Us

If you love Saving Moses, it’s because we save and protect babies. Sometimes, this means protecting them against the threat of death by malnutrition. Sometimes, it’s the threat of abuse and exploitation by the sex industry. Today, this means taking a close look at our own policies and saying, “We can do more.” After careful... Read More»

May 1, 2018

Why is the infant mortality rate so high in Afghanistan?

Note to the reader: Names and images have been changed to protect identities.

Why is the infant mortality rate so high in Afghanistan? - title page

According to the CIA website, Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. In fact, 110.6 out of every 1,000 babies born in Afghanistan do not live to see their first birthday. Compare that to the US, where the number drops to 5.8 out of every 1,000. Get out of the big cities into rural Afghanistan, and the infant mortality rate goes up. Where we currently have clinics, 40% of babies born will not live to see their first birthday.

These statistics are staggering. Why is there such disparity?

There are several factors at play, so we don’t want to oversimplify this. But through our years working with the beautiful people of Afghanistan, it has become clear that most infant deaths in the country with the highest infant mortality rate are preventable. Here are three of the top reasons why the infant mortality rate is so high there, and what you can do to help:

Distance

Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. A female doctor examining a baby in our BirthAid Clinic.

Naseema is 24 years old.  She has given birth seven times, but only has four living children. She has experienced the greatest loss of a child three times because of diseases such as diarrhea and dehydration, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections—all diseases that are treatable except that Naseema has not had access to a health clinic or medication for herself or her children for years.

When the Saving Moses clinic was founded in Naseema’s province, it was only a half-hour walk from her home. She brings all four of her babies to be vaccinated and cared for when sick. Because of access to healthcare, Naseema’s four babies have a chance to survive.

Much of the inhabited land of Afghanistan is rural and recovering from years of conflict. Communities are spread out with most people traveling by foot from place to place. As a result, people who live far from hospitals and clinics don’t get access to any form of healthcare, especially pregnant women and babies who cannot make the trip.

Education

A doctor examining a baby to help us combat the infant mortality rate in Afghanistan.

Hamad is a father, but he doesn’t know the love of a child. Hamad has had to bury all three of his babies because they were born not breathing. By the time Hamad reached a Saving Moses clinic, he was having a nervous breakdown from the grief. In America, if a baby is not breathing when they are born, the doctor or nurse gives them a hard slap on the back to clear mucus out of their airways. Most of the time, this works and the baby lives. No one in Hamad’s family knew.

Partly due to socioeconomic issues and partly due to culture, there is a significant lack of health education in Afghanistan, especially among women. When a woman has complications in her pregnancy or if a baby is sick, families are simply left guessing.

Culture

A baby boy sitting on his father's lap.

Haleema is a baby girl in rural Afghanistan and she is sick—very sick. Her parents brought her to Saving Moses worried because her stomach has rashes, she can’t keep food down, and her fever is very high. After looking at her, doctors immediately figured out the problem: an infection. When Haleema was born, per tradition, her father cut the umbilical cord with an old boot and packed it with mud from the wall of the family home. Once doctors were able to clean the cord out, Haleema started to show signs of recovery.

Communities in Afghanistan have rooted cultural traditions that trace back hundreds of years. Many women still see themselves as the sole caretaker in the home and will stay awake late into the night, cleaning, cooking, and caring for her household, even when pregnant. While culture is often beautiful and distinguishing, sometimes the old-world ideology contributes to poor health practices. This is where modern medicine and training community leaders helps save lives.

What You Can Do

Our hearts are broken by the maternal and infant mortality rates in Afghanistan. This is why we work in three rural clinics throughout Afghanistan to train midwives, fund postnatal vaccinations, and teach birth life-saving skills in communities. We would love to invite you to join in our journey to save babies every day by meeting the most urgent and intense survival needs where help is least available.

You can become a hero or donate to Afghanistan here.

A little girl holding her baby brother with dirt on their faces.

May 1, 2018

Why is the infant mortality rate so high in Afghanistan?

Why is the infant mortality rate so high in Afghanistan? Note to the reader: Names and images have been changed to protect identities. According to the CIA website, Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. In fact, 110.6 out of every 1,000 babies born in Afghanistan do not live to see their first... Read More»

recent posts