Jendy James, a 40-year-old mother of seven children - four sons and three daughters - lives in the village of Pakor in Awan Riau County, South Sudan. Her youngest are twin boys.
When the war began five years ago, Jendy was a housewife who relied on her husband’s salary to feed and educate her children. But then, her husband was injured by the fighting, and Jendy became her family’s primary breadwinner.
“I usually grow sorghum and sometimes sell local beverages at the market to make sure my family gets enough food,” says Jendy. With her additional responsibilities and very few resources, it has been very difficult for Jendy to earn enough to properly care for her family, especially her youngest children.
In late November, one of the twins fell very sick. Jendy had heard from her friends about the Action Against Hunger Stabilization Center in the town of Alek – their children had also fallen ill and been admitted for care there. The journey to this center is long and difficult, posing significant risks to the health and security of mothers and their children: two large rivers and at least three hours’ walk lie between Pakor village and the health facility in Alek.
Jendy chose to walk to Panliet Nutrition Center, one of Action Against Hunger’s outpatient programs located closer to her home. When they arrived, the nurse aid examined her sons and measured their mid-upper-arm circumferences to determine their nutrition status – both twins were suffering from severe acute malnutrition. One of the boys, who was weak from fever and vomiting, was also diagnosed with malaria.
Jendy and her twins were immediately referred to the Stabilization Center in Alek, where they were admitted for seven days of inpatient treatment from malaria and severe acute malnutrition. Once both children were a little stronger from treatment and the boy with malaria had recovered, they were referred back to the nutrition site in Panliet. There, the two boys will continue to receive outpatient treatment until they are fully cured of acute malnutrition.
“While I was at the Stabilization Center, I learned a lot of things together with other mothers,” says Jendy. “Now I know how to properly care for my children and make sure they don’t fall sick easily. I can prevent them from [contracting] malaria by using mosquito nets and ensure [proper] hygiene so that they don’t get diarrhea or vomiting…I can use [this] knowledge to help my neighbors on how [to] take care of their children and prevent them from getting diseases all the time.”
An important part of Action Against Hunger’s programs in South Sudan is listening and responding to community feedback; our staff provide opportunities for parents to share what they think about our programs and the services they and their children receive.
“We get a chance to explain how we feel,” says Jendy. “We also get to propose what to be done next so that the entire community of South Sudan can get better services.”