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»
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.
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.
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.
Written by: Communications and Logistics Coordinator, McKenzie Thompson
In 2019, we saved a total of 9,506 babies and toddlers! That means that together, we saved 4,764 MORE little ones last year compared to the previous year in 2018.
We could not have done that without YOU!
B I R T H A I D
We cared for 3,816 babies and pregnant mothers in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. We provided community-based education on safe birthing practices and infant care, skilled birth attendants to assist in safe births, pediatrician visits for babies and toddlers, pregnancy well-woman visits, and breastfeeding education.
These regions have been devastated by war for years, and hospitals and clinics are primary targets during conflicts. Because of this, access to healthcare is minimal. Many women and their children live too far from a healthcare facility where they can safely give birth or receive care and cannot afford to travel. That challenge, plus the lack of knowledge of safe birthing practices and infant care, lead to many preventable deaths. Thanks to our BirthAid program, nearly 4,000 women and their babies received the necessary and essential care that they needed.
- helped 71 babies be born safely
- provided doctor visits for 3,745 children under the age of 5
- gave 1,126 pregnant women consultations in 2019
M A L N U T R I T I O N
5,207 babies and toddlers were cured of malnutrition in Africa last year! High food insecurity, caused by constant conflict, drought, and poverty, has made Severe Acute Malnutrition prevalent in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently, 37.6% of children under 5 in Angola and 42.7% in the DRC, suffer from this disease. We provide those babies and toddlers with therapeutic milk specially formulated to give them all the nutrients they need. We now have an 89.5% success rate in our malnutrition clinics, which means that most babies who come, get better, and can return home. We are at our lowest withdrawal rate ever, at 6%, meaning most babies stay at the clinic until their treatment is complete, resulting in higher cure rates!
Saving Moses saved 488 MORE babies from malnutrition last year than we did in 2018!
N I G H T C A R E
We protected 483 babies and toddlers from the sex industry in 2019. They received a safe place to sleep, a warm bath, clean clothes, a nutritious meal, playtime, and therapeutic care from our nannies every night. Without NightCare, many of them grow up in brothels, sleep on the streets, or experience abuse and neglect. Your support allows these babies to be kids and live a happy, healthy life. We also opened two new NightCare centers in Bangladesh and India and were able to protect 167 MORE babies in 2019 than in 2018.
In 2019, we provided 32,894 NightCare visits to babies and toddlers.
Cambodia: 153 new babies attended NightCare, 285 babies total attended NightCare, and we provided 25,099 NightCare visits to babies growing up in the sex industry.
India: We opened our first center in this country, protected 10 babies from the sex industry, and provided 80 visits.
Bangladesh: We opened our second center in this country, 148 new babies attended NightCare, 188 babies total were cared for, and overall, we provided 7,715 visits in the NightCare center.
We cannot wait to keep growing, changing lives, and saving babies with you. To read more details on 2019, check out our official Annual Report HERE.
Thank you for all that you do to support this cause,
The Saving Moses Team
Written by: Communications and Logistics Coordinator, McKenzie Thompson In 2019, we saved a total of 9,506 babies and toddlers! That means that together, we saved 4,764 MORE little ones last year compared to the previous year in 2018. We could not have done that without YOU! B I R T H A I D We... Read More»
From Bad to Worse
Written by Director of Operations, Heidi Cortez
Before the novel Coronavirus ravaged our world, Angola was already extremely food insecure. That means that most of the population lacks access to affordable, nutritional foods. A combination of drought, poor infrastructure, and vast inequality causes this food insecurity. Inequality is readily seen after visiting the prestigious coastlines that are lined with luxurious yachts and then visiting a malnutrition clinic where two babies share a bed, each fighting for its life. It is a country where 93,821 children under five died in 2019 of mostly preventable causes. That was before the pandemic.
Then, the country went into lockdown in March after the capital, Luanda, had two cases of the virus. These lockdowns, although effective at easing the spread of the virus, exploited the inequalities between the wealthy and the poor. While there are those in Angola who can comfortably quarantine, many in Benguela (where Saving Moses works) are food insecure. They depend on services like our clinics to provide for their vulnerable babies and toddlers. These babies and toddlers are susceptible to Severe Acute Malnutrition. This disease wreaks havoc on little bodies with symptoms of edema (fluid retention marked by protruding tummies and limbs), unconsciousness, lethargy, and low weight for height. Essentially, it is starvation. Left untreated, it is fatal.
Anyone who has witnessed a young child suffering from severe acute malnutrition will see the agony of watching a little life fight to survive. It is one of the hardest things to witness.
Saving Moses provides therapeutic milk to combat Severe Acute Malnutrition. Mothers travel to our clinics (sometimes spanning long distances) to receive this vital milk. Saving Moses has provided this service since 2012 and has saved thousands of babies and toddlers.
When the lockdown hit, Angolans were not permitted to leave their residences. Clinics were mandated to discharge current babies and toddlers early. Amidst the backdrop of the pandemic, babies and toddlers suffered at home from Severe Acute Malnutrition with no remedies, unable to seek proper healthcare. Our staff on the ground sought government approval to travel and provide necessary milk during the lockdown.
As the country began to open in May, our clinics saw a spike in clinic admissions. Fortunately, our team secured two therapeutic milk shipments to ensure each admitted baby had enough formula to survive.
We are encouraged that babies and toddlers now have access to the clinics; however, there is potential for a second wave of Coronavirus. That could force another lockdown. To combat this risk, we provide additional rations to babies and toddlers to prepare them if this happens. We continue to watch our on the ground situations to ensure that each baby and toddler has a future.
Learn more about our Malnutrition program HERE.
From Bad to Worse Written by Director of Operations, Heidi Cortez Before the novel Coronavirus ravaged our world, Angola was already extremely food insecure. That means that most of the population lacks access to affordable, nutritional foods. A combination of drought, poor infrastructure, and vast inequality causes this food ... Read More»
Written by Saving Moses Communication’s Coordinator, McKenzie Thompson
The news about the global COVID-19 outbreak spread almost as fast as the virus itself, but several questions were left unanswered. Where did it originate? When will it be over? Will I lose my job? Questions like these have flooded the minds of people all over the world, and in a time of uncertainty such as this, it’s easy to get scared or worried.
This virus has affected millions of people’s health and their businesses, jobs, educations, graduations, vacations, weddings, and so much more. This pandemic has hugely inconvenienced me, as well. It’s disappointing and discouraging for all of us. We have all been affected in different ways that deserve attention and warrant valid emotions regarding the effects of COVID-19. Still, I want us to take a second and look at this through the eyes of the world’s most vulnerable population.
I can’t stop thinking about the babies and toddlers around the world who are suffering every day of their lives, pandemic or not. I think about the little ones whose mothers work in the sex industry as their only means of providing. The babies who go to work with their mothers in brothels, get left at home alone, roam the streets with the possibility of being stolen until their mother returns, or stay with an abusive neighbor or family member. That is the life they’re used to but add a global pandemic on top, and it becomes even more of an unimaginable living condition.
Since the mothers in the sex industry are not able to work during this time, they are left even more vulnerable than before, with no money to buy everyday essentials for themselves, let alone their babies. No income, combined with no healthcare access, makes it extremely hard to survive in general, but nearly impossible with this pandemic. The virus is more likely to transmit in brothels and slums, so even after the curve lowers, there will be a prolonged waiting time for the mothers to return to work.
If a mother can’t provide for herself, she can’t provide for her children. Those babies living in a prominent red-light district are relocating to their relatives’ places, which increases the risk of abuse, neglect, or trafficking. What is the right answer? What happens to these families?
Saving Moses’ whole mission is to provide care where the need is most urgent, and the help is least available. We know how vulnerable the babies who attend our NightCare centers are, so when this pandemic hit, we knew we had to do more. They can always get food, formula, clean clothes, a bed, and more at NightCare, but when the social distancing rules took effect, a temporary plan had to be put in place to combat these new obstacles.
We are now providing mothers and their babies with Care Boxes that include essential items such as diapers, formula, food, and soap. Throughout the week, mothers [or fathers] bring their babies to our centers to get their Care Box. Upon arrival, the NightCare nannies meet them at the door with masks on, take their temperature, and sanitize their hands. Then, they hand them a FREE Care Box with all the items they need to make their lives a little easier. We have seen such a positive reaction from the mothers regarding the impact of these Care Boxes.
One mother told us…
“Thank you, Saving Moses, for providing free food, milk, diapers, vitamins, soap, shampoo, and other supplies to my baby during this time of desperate need. Because of the impact of COVID-19, I have no work or money to buy food for my baby. Without this organization, I don’t know what or where I would be now.”
This somehow breaks and warms my heart at the same time. I have a job, a safe place to sleep, and food to eat. There are millions of mothers and babies who struggle every day to find shelter. I had to see this through their perspective to fully empathize with them about the horrible effects of this virus.
Saving Moses sees them. They aren’t left behind or forgotten.
Saving Moses goes into the places where many others won’t and restores hope in the lives of so many. We see that every day when babies come running into our centers with smiles on their faces and can rest peacefully in their little beds, knowing they are safe for the night.
If you’re looking for ways to make a difference in this challenging time, please consider donating $25 for a Care Box. The mother’s story above is just 1 of several mothers who have been positively impacted by receiving a Care Box. You can be the difference. Start today. Contact email@example.com for more information on how you can help.
Written by Saving Moses Communication’s Coordinator, McKenzie Thompson The news about the global COVID-19 outbreak spread almost as fast as the virus itself, but several questions were left unanswered. Where did it originate? When will it be over? Will I lose my job? Questions like these have flooded the minds of people all ... Read More»
Severe Acute Malnutrition: More Than Being Hungry
Written by Saving Moses Communication’s Coordinator, McKenzie Thompson
We see the effects of this disease on babies and toddlers every single day at our malnutrition feeding clinics in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We see their hair get lighter and become brittle, their skin begin to peel, and oedema take over their bodies, causing their hands, feet, faces, and stomachs to swell. We see the toll it takes on them, their mothers, their fathers, or their caregivers. We see how it slowly strips not only their lives away, but their hope and joy as well. While it is a hard topic to talk about, we see that there is a significant need for help in these parts of the world and believe that talking about it is the first step to the cure. Sadly, this is all too real for these little ones. This is the harsh reality that they face every day.
Severe acute malnutrition is the most extreme and visible form of malnutrition in children. It can be defined as a very low weight for height (below -3z scores of the median WHO growth standards), by visible severe wasting, or by the presence of nutritional oedema, according to the World Health Organization.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to severe acute malnutrition. It is more than just hunger.
It is the lack of nutrients needed to literally keep your body growing healthy, and it comes with terrible symptoms like I mentioned above. It’s not knowing when your next meal will be or if there will be one at all. Especially for babies and toddlers, getting the right amount of nutrients is vital for them to grow during the early stages of their lives. It is a life or death situation for them.
This is what drives Saving Moses. In our clinics, we know that we can save almost every baby from the tragic results of malnutrition and this motivates us more than anything!
Did you know that malnutrition is a 100% preventable disease? Yes, you read that right. It is 100% preventable. Meaning, there is no reason any baby or toddler should ever have to endure it, yet it is the cause of 50% of childhood deaths in lower to middle income countries…
How could a disease that is so easily preventable, [be a disease that so easily] takes the lives of precious babies and toddlers?
The answer is simple: lack of resources. In countries like where we work, there are several factors that contribute to the high mortality rate caused by this disease.
In some of the babies we see at our clinics, their malnutrition is due to a lack of education or cultural beliefs. Some mothers do not understand the basic necessity of breast feeding their babies, especially in the early stages of their lives. Other mothers believe their baby’s disease is a curse that has been placed on them. Often, by the time they realize their baby should be taken to a clinic, he/she dies before they can finish treatment because it is too late. It breaks my heart when I think about it.
For many reasons, we are increasing our community outreach efforts. The more information we can spread about malnutrition, what causes it, and how we can help, the more mothers and fathers will trust us and bring their babies to our clinics while we still have a chance to save them.
So, how do we help once they arrive? Our malnutrition feeding clinics provide babies with therapeutic milk. This isn’t the standard formula available at the grocery store. Therapeutic milk is packed with nutrients that quickly restore baby’s bodies back to healthy. We also can send home a special type of formula for them to drink after they have completed treatment at our clinic, that helps them continue to grow. One of our favorite success stories from our malnutrition clinics is about our little friend named Belito. You can learn more about his story here.
The work we do at Saving Moses is important. It is essential. It is saving lives.
Will you join us on this mission to save the world’s most vulnerable population?
Severe Acute Malnutrition: More Than Being Hungry Written by Saving Moses Communication’s Coordinator, McKenzie Thompson We see the effects of this disease on babies and toddlers every single day at our malnutrition feeding clinics in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We see their hair get lighter and become brittle, ... Read More»
Hanging by a Thread: The Saving Moses Journey
Written by: McKenzie Thompson – Saving Moses Communications & Logistics Coordinator
“Who abandons newborn babies? How did they arrive in some random field? Was anything with them, like blankets or bottles, when they were discovered? Were they wearing any clothing?” These were just some of the questions that ran through Sarah Bowling’s mind when she came across two babies abandoned in a field in Ethiopia in 2009. This exact experience of Sarah’s is what led to the birth of the one-of-a-kind humanitarian aid organization: Saving Moses.
Speaking of the birth of Saving Moses – we are so excited to finally announce that Sarah, its founder, has just released her newest book, Hanging By A Thread: The Saving Moses Journey, which was written about the organization’s journey all the way from 2009 in Ethiopia, to now! It details the hardships, roadblocks, and victories that have taken place throughout Saving Moses’ journey to save babies in some of the most dangerous and exploitative cities in the world. The reader will learn about what inspired Sarah to launch this organization, real and raw stories of the people she met along the way, and what has contributed to the continuous growth of Saving Moses today.
When Sarah discovered those baby girls in 2009, she was distraught and immediately wanted to help. She took them to a nearby orphanage, but they refused to take the girls in. How could an orphanage refuse to care for abandoned babies? Was that not its purpose? What Sarah realized from this, was that babies require so many more resources, attention, and care than children who are older. The needs of babies and toddlers are more specialized and expensive than older children, so sadly, many organizations and orphanages cannot afford to meet their needs. This planted the seed in Sarah that would one day become Saving Moses. Sarah, who was just like many of you reading this, was just one person with a heart and passion to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable, who said yes to the challenge. Her hope is that this book will inspire you to take your own first steps toward fulfilling your purpose!
As many of you have read on our social media, website, or blog many times, Saving Moses’ mission is to save babies (5 & under) every day, by meeting the most urgent and intense survival needs, where help is least available. This book will give the reader several examples of what inspired that mission statement and why we take it into consideration with everything we do at Saving Moses. Just like the twin baby girls, abandoned in a field, with no place to go, no one to care of them, no food or water – we see babies in this exact situation every day and it is our goal to be their hope that they would otherwise not have.
This book is inspiring, encouraging, and motivating. It is for those of you who feel as if you have a calling to do something bigger than yourself, make a difference in the world, or just be encouraged. As Sarah writes in this book, “The life of each baby and toddler whom we serve is hanging by a thread, and it is our supreme honor and passion to step into their precarious existence, tie a knot in the thread and facilitate a more secure and certain future!”
Buy your copy today, get inspired, and help us tie the knot in the thread.
Get yours HERE.
Hanging by a Thread: The Saving Moses Journey Written by: McKenzie Thompson – Saving Moses Communications & Logistics Coordinator “Who abandons newborn babies? How did they arrive in some random field? Was anything with them, like blankets or bottles, when they were discovered? Were they wearing any clothing?” These were ... Read More»
Written by: McKenzie Thompson – Saving Moses Communications & Logistics Coordinator
At Saving Moses, we have recently launched our end of year campaign, Born in Refuge, which focuses on our BirthAid program. We are helping pregnant women and babies in Iraq and Syria by providing midwives, obstetricians and pediatricians during one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history. It’s not uncommon news that Syrians are fleeing their war-torn country for the past several years since civil war began in 2011. The humanitarian crisis has been going on for 8 years now, and it’s not over yet.
After the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria’s northern border in October this year, Turkey’s military invaded the area days later, causing hundreds of thousands of Syrians to flee their country or die trying. We aren’t here to choose sides on the political and militant decisions made regarding this issue, but instead, we are here to help those who are most vulnerable – babies and toddlers. According to the UN, only a couple of weeks after the invasion, nearly 180,000 people fled south from the border area between Turkey and Syria, while 10,000 fled to Iraq. 80,000 of those being children. That number has risen exponentially from this recent conflict alone. It isn’t counting the past 8 years that Syrians have been at war, fleeing their homes in search of safety, and hundreds of thousands of them innocently dying. Before this most recent conflict, there were already millions of Syrians in need.
As of December 1, 2019, the total number of registered Syrian refugees fleeing to neighboring countries is 5,664,202, according to Operation Portal – Refugee Situations. This number doesn’t include all the people displaced and still seeking refuge. That is over 5-million men and women forced to make the hardest decisions for their families and children of all ages forced to grow up way too soon. They are forced to leave their lives behind and seek refuge in unfamiliar places. Overall, more than 11 million Syrians are displaced, according to research by Mercy Corps.
My heart breaks when I think about the families who are just doing their best to survive. But when I think about the babies amid all this chaos, it just angers me. UNICEF reports that 2018 was the single deadliest year for children in Syria since the start of the war. That statistic rocks me to my core.
Babies are at the mercy of their environment. Women are giving birth to babies in the center of war zones. Babies are being born without any access to health care. Women are forced to travel several miles by foot just to get help with their pregnancy or sick babies.
By launching our end of year campaign: Born in Refuge, we will be funding midwives, obstetricians, and pediatricians for babies and pregnant mothers in Syria and Iraq. While millions of Syrians are fleeing their homes and traveling to neighboring countries like Iraq, it can be difficult to find medical help, especially in the middle of a war zone, where help is most needed. By providing these services, we are hoping to continue saving babies and providing the care needed to protect the world’s most vulnerable.
Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is quickly approaching. This is a season of giving and love is the greatest gift you can give to someone. It’s a time to be a part of something bigger than yourself! This time of year tends to get busy as we are planning holiday dinners, trying to buy the best gifts, flying/driving hundreds of miles to spend this holiday with friends and family, but I urge you to slow down for a second and think about those who don’t have these same opportunities. We are the help these babies need and deserve, and you can be the love these little ones experience this giving season. Join Saving Moses through Born in Refuge, donate today, and bring joy to the lives of thousands of babies in need who are growing up in a war zone.
Written by: McKenzie Thompson – Saving Moses Communications & Logistics Coordinator At Saving Moses, we have recently launched our end of year campaign, Born in Refuge, which focuses on our BirthAid program. We are helping pregnant women and babies in Iraq and Syria by providing midwives, obstetricians and pediatricians ... 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.
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»