Taking a Walk in Her Shoes

Most of us don’t know what it’s like to live in a refugee camp.

We haven’t lived in a tent flooded with contaminated water. Or watched a deadly disease sweep through our neighborhood, leaving death and grief in its wake. Most of us haven’t experienced having a sick child and nowhere to turn for help.

In Tanzania, these are daily realities for refugees.

But, while our realities are different, our emotions are the same. As humans living in a broken world, we all experience some degree of suffering. We all know despair, grief, joy, and hope.

We can relate to refugees even if we can’t experience how they live.

Because refugees are people like you and me. They are moms and dads and grandparents. They want a safe home and a stable life. They want their children to be healthy and have opportunity.

We are grateful to have an opportunity to improve health for refugees. This year, we’ve been invited to partner with the Tanzanian Red Cross to improve medical care for Burundian and Congolese refugees in two refugee camps: Nyarugusu and Mtendeli.

What’s it Like to be Her?

Imagine that you live in a refugee camp in Tanzania. It’s the middle of the night and you are wrenched from your sleep by the distressed cries of your baby. Panic washes over you.

You feel her forehead and she’s burning up with fever. She’s had diarrhea the last few days. You’re sick with worry because you’ve seen these symptoms in other children before. And many of them don’t make it.

Despite your anxiety, you hold on to a bit of hope. You know there is a clinic nearby.

Early the next morning, you carry your feverish baby to the clinic. There, a long line stretches from the entrance. So many people are sick and needing help. Other mothers hold their sick and listless children. Each of you is hoping that your child can be cured.

Hours pass.

A health clinic in Nyarugusu Camp.

Finally, you make it inside the clinic. And then comes bad news. They’ve run out of medicine. You feel desperate and hopeless as doctors do all they can without the medicine and supplies they need.

You’re Helping Give Sick Children the Care They Need

The sad reality for refugees in Tanzania is that medical care is difficult to access. There aren’t enough medicines, supplies, or equipment.

A pharmacy with no medicine.

Clinics are congested and it can take hours for children to be seen. Malaria is the primary killer of children. And it’s the first problem we’re going to tackle.

With your help, we are building three clinic areas specifically for testing and treating children under five for malaria. Children with fevers will have dedicated medical staff in under-five treatment areas. More children will get treated faster.

We are also working to get diagnostic tests and medicine restocked so once they get inside the clinic, there is treatment available.

A health worker tests a child for malaria with a Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test. This test is much quicker and easier than blood slides which take up to 30 minutes to process and require a well-trained technician.

From there, we will work to improve care for pregnant women. We’ll help deliver babies and improve emergency services like c-sections. Refugees will be trained to teach their neighbors how to stay healthy. We’ll partner with faith leaders to improve health within their communities.

We’ll only be able to do this with your support.

A Different Ending to the Story

So now imagine this. You take your sick baby to a clinic. The wait isn’t long – she is seen and diagnosed right away. There is a bed for her. And medicine. And IV fluids. Slowly, her fever goes down. You watch as life comes back to her little body. And soon, she is healed. You take her home and your family is whole. You’ve been spared a lifetime of grief. What a blessing that is.

A mother and her baby.

Your compassion has the power to change and save lives. Please consider donating today so that refugee mothers around the world can take their healthy babies home.

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