Do you know the most important birthday milestone anyone will ever celebrate? Their first birthday. In the United States, we often throw big parties for our babies turning 1, complete with banners, cake and hoopla. We’re so excited to see our babies take their first steps, discover new foods and burble out those first words.
Moms around the world are excited for these things too. But some moms are celebrating something even bigger on their child’s first birthday: Their child has survived.
The majority of the millions of children who die each year, pass away before their first birthday. Those most at risk of death are babies in Africa living in extreme poverty.
That’s why today we are celebrating something BIG.
Christine, Pamela and Faith from Uganda reached the most important birthday milestone: They turned 1!
Last year, you got to say the first hello to these three beautiful babies in our New Moms series. Now here they are, all grown. They are laughing, walking and bringing their parents so much joy.
But this first year of life for these three precious children was not guaranteed.
Each of their moms, Juliet, Rahuma and Kate, were at high risk of losing their babies without the intervention of Compassion’s Survival Program.
So many people banded together to make Christine’s, Pamela’s and Faith’s first year possible: The parents who spent themselves on behalf of their children, the Survival staff who ensured the moms and babies had the care they needed, and the donors who walked alongside these moms and babies from afar.
Celebrating Baby Faith’s First Year
When Rahuma first found out she was pregnant, she was worried. How would she provide for her baby? She thought maybe she should have an abortion. But instead she and her husband, Amon, decided to keep their baby. Rahuma and her baby nearly died in childbirth, but thanks to the intervention of the Survival staff, they are both happy and healthy.
Amon and Rahuma still struggle daily to provide, but recently the family has been able to move from eating two meals a day to three meals a day, thanks to Amon’s chapatti business!
Rahuma is still receiving the care and support of the Survival Program and her social worker, Lydia. She has learned how to make nutritious meals for Faith, and now she is learning an income-generating skill: shoemaking!
“The best thing about this year is that we are alive and our child is too.” – Mama Rahuma
Celebrating Baby Pamela’s First Year
When we first met Kate, she reported feeling depressed and hopeless when she became pregnant. Her husband had abandoned her and their two older children and she was struggling as a single mom.
But over the past year things have changed so much.
Kate started attending Survival Program activities regularly. She made friends. She learned skills, and she grew in confidence. Once shy and withdrawn, unable to maintain conversations with people, now Kate is a different woman. Shelia, her social worker expands:
“At our caregivers meeting, Pamela’s father commented to me that Kate seemed different. He was right. Kate was stronger. She thinks she can do this! He gave his life to Jesus at that meeting. Today he’s back living with Kate and his three kids and he’s a transformed man.”
Praise God that Kate now has support at home. Let’s pray for the continued transformation of this family!
“These days, I’m no longer sad and alone all the time. And if I ever do have a moment like that, Compassion seems to pop in and encourage me to go and study something at the center or have group time.” – Mama Kate
Celebrating Baby Christine’s First Year
When Juliet was pregnant, she could rarely afford to go to the doctor. When she did, she was told that she was going to lose her child. Thankfully, Juliet was registered in the Survival Program and she received the care she needed to have a healthy baby girl, Christine.
Through the program, Juliet learned to save money, and she also learned basic financial literacy to run her family’s chapatti business. Their hard work is beginning to pay off.
“[The] business has been growing. There is progress,” says Juliet. “We have added a popcorn machine and that has added to our income. We have been saving some money.”
Christine and Juliet survived their first year, and this family is hopeful for what is ahead.
“I love to see my baby growing up. I thank God for the gift of this child and how she is progressing so well.” – Mama Juliet
Will you celebrate these babies’ first birthday with us?
Celebrate all the snuggles these moms get to have with their babies. Celebrate that their joy didn’t turn to mourning. And celebrate all who made it possible. Faith, Pamela and Christine might not have reached this birthday milestone without the generous people who decided to reach out to moms and babies.
“If this program didn’t exist, things wouldn’t be positive for many of our moms and babies. They would go back to that hopelessness that they had before the Survival Program entered into their lives, and many might not make it.” – Shelia
No parent should have to lose their baby to preventable death. Our church partners around the world are reaching out to more moms and babies waiting to receive vital pre- and postnatal care. You can bring them the care they need.
Celebrate Faith’s, Pamela’s and Christine’s birthdays by giving the gift of Survival!
New Moms Series: Behind the Scenes
We hope you have loved getting to know these moms and their children as much as we have. Would you like a behind-the-scenes look at how we followed these young ones’ first year? Hear from the woman, Helen Manson, who spent 15 months chronicling these families.