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

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.

Father's Day

This Sunday is Fathers Day.

Does your Dad REALLY need more socks this year?

Why not buy him a gift that keeps on giving? A gift that empowers families and changes lives.

TWENTY women die every single day in childbirth in Tanzania. Please support us to empower the Dads left behind to raise their own children.

Your donation will help a Dad in Tanzania set up a small, sustainable business so his children go to bed each night with a full tummy.

I am sure YOUR Dad would appreciate that so much more than socks!

http://foreverangels.org/donate.html#gift-cards

Today Is My Birthday!

Today is my 38th birthday. I have been alive for 13,870 days, and never once, did I go to bed hungry. I am lucky. Pretty much anyone reading this should consider themselves lucky.

On the other hand - this is Magreth. She has been alive for 97 days. She has NEVER gone to bed with a full stomach and she was on the verge of death when I met her.

Magreths Mum died in childbirth and her family were too poor to buy the formula milk needed to keep her alive and healthy.

By Donating my Birthday today, I am raising money to buy formula milk to keep more babies like Magreth alive.

I am not receiving gifts or cards or cake this year - but I WILL go to bed tonight knowing Magreth has a full tummy. Honestly - it is the best gift I could receive.

https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/foreverangels/donateyourbirthday

Please consider donating YOUR birthday.  We need to put a stop to babies like Magreth dying. It is 2017 and this should not be happening. Babies like Magreth were just born unlucky - all they need is food. 

Together - we can provide it.

Thank you for your support.

Donate Your Birthday

We first met Kulwa and Dotto as newborns in 2015.  Their young Mum (Janeth) was severely sick during pregnancy and was not producing any breast milk.  They were malnourished and at risk of death. 

Our Maisha Matters project supported Janeth with weekly formula milk.  She came every week to collect it where we also weighed the babies and trained her on first aid, child development, malaria prevention and nutrition. 

After a few months we set Janeth up in a small charcoal business meaning she was able to earn an income and buy food for herself and her children every day. 

Tomorrow, Kulwa and Dotto will be celebrating their second birthday!  One family at a time, we are saving lives and empowering families 

This month we have started a Donate Your Birthday campaign - trying to raise £30,000 in 2017 to provide life saving formula milk for other babies like Kulwa and Dotto. 

Instead of receiving birthday gifts and cards, we hoping our supporters will ask their friends and family for donations to Forever Angels instead. 

Can YOU donate your birthday this year... to make sure babies like Kulwa and Dotto live to see theirs?

https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/foreverangels/donateyourbirthday