More than 10 years ago, world leaders gathered at the United Nations, committing to meet the needs of the world’s poorest through 8 specific goals. They called them the Millenium Development Goals, and they also set a deadline: by 2015, they aim to eradicate extreme poverty by focusing on common issues such as hunger, disease, and access to education and clean water.
These are issues Mission of Mercy focuses on with our holistic child development programs. By connecting sponsors with children in need, we can address their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs in a kind and compassionate way.
Medical Mercy is a major component of addressing the physical needs of our children. Teams of volunteer medical personnel evaluate the children in our projects and treat the common preventable illnesses that can affect an impoverished child for life.
Dr. Beyda, who is currently leading medical clinics for our 15 projects in Haiti, writes about why addressing these things is important:
He is 11 years old. Short, skinny, and withdrawn. He looks like he's 7.
He is what we call stunted. Malnourished during the most important growing years, 6 months to 5 years. There’s no chance now to catch up, to make up the difference. What we can do is give him some high caloric Medika Mamba (a nutritious peanut butter paste) and hope he gains weight, feels better, and feels like a person again.
Severe malnutrition does that to children. We have an aggressive but simple program to prevent malnutrition in our children 5 years and younger by giving a balanced meal to the children each time they come to the project. Since we started this last year, the number of moderately or severely malnourished children under the age of 6 years has dropped significantly. We've identified just a handful out of the 226 children we saw yesterday.
Addressing critical needs like hunger is essential if a child is to develop to his or her full potential. When you look at the statistics the UN Millennial Development Goals track, it’s astounding. Globally, one in six people suffer from chronic hunger. Children in developing regions are twice as likely to be underweight and malnourished as their urban counterparts.
But you are standing in the gap. Your sponsorship provides nutritional support and medical screenings to children whose lives are often limited by circumstances they cannot control.
Your gifts to Medical Mercy allow teams to run clinics in the underserved areas where our projects are located, and for project staff to receive medical training to recognize when a child is ill and to take the first steps toward treatment.
Giving a few dollars each month to the Children’s Crisis Fund enables us to respond quickly in times of disaster. We can provide soap and bleach to families in Haiti, effectively preventing the spread of cholera to our projects. We can send enriched rice packs to areas in Kenya devastated by chronic drought and hunger. Or offset the cost of emergency medical treatment or necessary devices, like hearing aids.
The stories are as endless as the need, but we serve a big God who knows our children by name. Over the next week we’ll continue to provide updates from the medical team in Haiti while also exploring the major issues that each country vowed to address by 2015.
With your support and God’s help, we are making strides and reminding children, one by one, that they matter.