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»
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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»