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World Nutrition Day: Endashaw’s Journey and the Fight Against Malnutrition in Ethiopia

POSTED May 30, 2024

World Nutrition Day: Endashaw’s Journey and the Fight Against Malnutrition in Ethiopia

By Srilakshmi Venugopal Maithily, Communications Intern

Endashaw from Ethiopia

Growing up in a small village in Ethiopia, the harsh realities of poverty and limited opportunities are all too familiar for many young people. Like his friends, Endashaw likely would have become a day laborer or operated a small farm to survive. But he seized on an opportunity that gave him choices in life.

Through Children Believe’s sponsorship program, he found a lifeline.

“With the unwavering support of Mr. Heyman, my dreams were no longer distant mirages, but tangible realities waiting to be grasped,” Endashaw says.

With support to finish his education, such funds for school fees, materials and access to tutorial classes, he had the opportunity to break free from the cycle of poverty. But it wasn’t just about financial aid. Training programs and workshops taught him his rights as a child. Inspired to become a voice for others, he pursued higher education and graduated from university. Now, he serves his community as a rural development and agricultural extension professional, finding fulfillment in giving back.

The reality of malnutrition: Children deprived of choices

While his story is one of hope and overcoming barriers to education, the crisis in Ethiopia persists. Over 21 million people need aid, facing a dire food shortage that deepens. Mothers and children battle malnutrition, jeopardizing their health and wellbeing. With limited access to food and other resources, children suffer from stunted growth, weakened immune systems and cognitive impairments.

Malnutrition puts children at risk of lifelong health issues and prevents them from reaching their full potential. During pregnancy and childbirth, malnourished mothers are more likely to experience complications that endanger their lives and the lives of their babies.

Despite improvements made in the last 20 years, malnutrition remains a significant challenge in Ethiopia. In a 2023 report, the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, indicates about 37 percent of children-under-five are stunted, and 22 percent of women of reproductive age are undernourished. Only 14 percent of children-under-two eat the recommended variety of foods. (NCBI statistics on malnutrition)

Empowering children with nutrition: every step counts

Every year on May 28, World Nutrition Day is recognized to highlight the importance of proper nutrition. Good nutrition is staying healthy and building strong bodies and minds for both children and mothers. When we eat well, our immune systems become robust, protecting us from diseases. But it’s not just about health; it’s about breaking free from poverty and hunger, too. Unfortunately, in many low- and middle-income countries, malnutrition is a serious threat.

Every child deserves access to nutritious food and the choice to build a healthy lifestyle. Let’s turn the tide on malnutrition and poverty. Children Believe works to provide education, nutrition, and opportunities for children and families in need. We can ensure that every child has the chance to thrive, just like Endashaw and others like him in Ethiopia.

See how you can make a difference, today.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

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