Amy's Blog

Updates and stories from the ground by Amy Hathaway, Founder and Director of Forever Angels and Forever Angels Baby Home.

Bibi Rehema

Bibi Rehema received a phone call from her daughter one Friday evening in March 2016 – letting her know she was a Grandma!  Her daughter had just given birth in hospital and whilst cradling her beloved new baby (who she named Rehema) she had phoned her Mum to ask her to bring new clothes when she came to visit the next morning.

In Tanzania you are not allowed anyone else with you when you give birth – not your husband or Mum or friend or sister.  Women all must go through this monumental experience, alone.

Thrilled with the news, Bibi Rehema set off early the next morning to visit her daughter and new granddaughter in hospital.  She went straight to the Maternity Ward and looked around for her daughter.  She could not immediately see her and so she walked the ward again, looking more carefully and asking people.

She spent hours looking for her daughter and no one seemed to know anything and she was not answering her phone.  Finally, after waiting most of the day, she was told by a Doctor that her daughter had died the previous night ‘from bleeding’.  She was handed baby Rehema and told to go home and arrange burial of her daughter.

Can you imagine the devastation Bibi Rehema felt?  She had gained a beautiful new granddaughter, but lost her daughter.  An old lady herself and suddenly, here she was responsible for a newborn baby.

Bibi Rehema already lived in poverty, washing clothes and fetching water for neighbours to earn less than 50 pence a day – there was no way she could afford the lifesaving formula milk needed to keep baby Rehema alive.  Not knowing what else to do, she took Rehema home and tried her best for two weeks, feeding Rehema tea, water and porridge.

Rehema soon became sick – she was very lethargic and was losing weight very quickly.  Bibi took her to hospital and thankfully a nurse there told Bibi Rehema about Forever Angels and our Maisha Matters Program. 

Every week, Bibi Rehema brought her granddaughter to Forever Angels where we provided her with enough formula milk to last the week.  We weighed Rehema and then gave weekly training to her Grandmother on First Aid, HIV, Malaria, Nutrition, Child Care, Health and Hygiene and Business Skills.

We supported the family with rent for their house so they would not become homeless and we gave them a mosquito net and mattress (as previously Bibi was sleeping on the floor)

After a few months, we set Bibi Rehema up with a small shop outside her house, so she could earn a salary whilst still taking care of Rehema.

Bibi has worked so hard to care for Rehema and she is doing wonderfully well – walking, just starting to talk and happy and healthy.

Bibi Rehema says, “My business is great.  I cook twice a day for my grandchildren now and they all love to eat meat and fish often which we never had before.  Rehema is now fat and healthy and all my neighbours comment on how good she looks.  My children have not been sick with malaria for many months.  We all sleep under a net now.  Life was so hard before – but now we have hope.  Maybe these children will all live a life with no struggles?”

Bibi Rehema’s story is not unique.  Every day in Tanzania, 20 women die in childbirth – leaving 20 babies at risk of malnutrition and death.  These babies are left in the care of relatives who want to care for them, but simply do not have the financial ability to do so.  And that’s where Maisha Matters comes in - every week over 50 Grandmothers and Aunts bring their babies to our Maisha Matters program to receive milk and training.

We are seeing so many amazing results – malnourished and sick babies becoming healthy within weeks. 

Maisha Matters works – one baby at a time, we are saving lives! 

http://foreverangels.org/donate.html

Michelle Gets A Forever Family

We are all delighted for Michelle who was adopted into her new Forever Family yesterday.

She came to us as a tiny baby and we have loved watching her grow...

Michelle came to Forever Angels in February after being found abandoned...but now she will grow up in a loving family and we are so happy for her.

Samantha Goes Home

Samantha Daudi came to Forever Angels in February 2014 as a 3 week old baby girl.  

Her Mum was ill in the Psychiatric Unit at Bugando Hospital and was unable to tell hospital staff about any other relatives.

Samantha has been with us now for over three years and despite our Social Worker’s efforts – her Mum was discharged from hospital and we were unable to find her.

Over the last three years, Samantha has grown into a beautiful little girl.  She is shy and wary of strangers – and getting a smile can take some efforts – but she is clever and kind and adored by all at Forever Angels.

In March this year, after some clever detective work, Samantha’s Mum was found, sectioned again in the Psychiatric ward of Bugando Hospital.

She had apparently been asking every day about her daughter and finally one nurse remembered our Social Worker enquiring and realised this must be the same child.

Samantha’s Mum is on medication now and was able to tell us about her family.  We traced Samantha’s grandmother and she was so happy to hear about Samantha and wanted to care for both her daughter and granddaughter.

This morning, Samantha went home to live with her Mum and Grandmother.  She was quite fearful to leave – but Forever Angels has been her home since she was a new-born and this is all she knows. Whilst we are very sad to see her leave us – we are thankful that she will now be raised in a family.

Please keep Samantha in your thoughts as she adjusts to her new life.  Despite being sick, her Mum NEVER stopped thinking about her baby girl and never stopped asking about her.  Samantha is very loved and for that we are so thankful.

Research Partnership - Celebrating 20 Years

So thankful to Research Partnership for their generous donation of £2,000 to celebrate their 20th Anniversary.

It will be used to set twenty families up in a sustainable business - one family at a time, changing lives.

Thank you so much

Wisdom

Did you know the collective noun for grandparents is a Wisdom? 

So here is this week's beautiful Wisdom of Grandmothers.....just some of the grandmothers who are taking care of their grandchildren after their daughters have sadly died in childbirth. 

They come each week to collect formula milk for their grand-babies; and also to receive training on Malaria Prevention, HIV, Health and Hygiene, First Aid and Nutrition.

Soon, we will set each of these remarkable ladies up in a small business they can do from their homes – enabling them to independently provide for the young families they have been left with.

There is a LOT of wisdom in these women.

We have HUGE dreams...

Our new Strategic Plan is here!

https://indd.adobe.com/…/61e3b793-ea6a-48f3-9934-bf7de4000d…

Thank you to EVERYONE who has helped us get this far. We have achieved beyond our wildest dreams.

But we still have BIG dreams. HUGE ones in fact. We can support so many more starving babies and help their families dig themselves out of poverty - but we need you.

Please share this link with your Manager / Work Colleagues / Generous Friends and Family and help us to make our goals for 2018 become a reality.

One baby at a time we are changing lives. Together we can.