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Maala’s story

Three year old Maala was born with a very serious hole in her heart. She cannot run, laugh or cry without struggling to catch her breath. Maala urgently needs an operation to save her life.

Brutal conflict forced Maala’s family to flee their home in Sri Lanka. They have spent their entire lives living in a refugee camp, where conditions are poor and food and medicine are scarce.

Maala’s parents have taken her to three different hospitals for treatment and have tried everything they can to help her. Devastatingly, because Maala is so malnourished she isn’t well enough to have the operation she so desperately needs.

The problem

When women are undernourished – women like Krishaani – they are more likely to give birth to undernourished babies or babies with life-threatening conditions – such as Maala’s hole in the heart.

If children don’t have enough calories or the right nutrients while in the womb and during the first 1,000 days after birth, they suffer permanent physical and mental damage, and so are more likely to fall ill or die.

How you can help

You can help prevent children like Maala being born with chronic illnesses by helping pregnant women stay healthy and nourished in the first place.

You can help provide nutrition supplements for mothers and children, pre- and post-natal care, and help identify children with chronic illnesses, referring them to hospital.

Your gift can help train health workers to screen pregnant mothers for malnutrition and refer them for urgent treatment. You can also help to teach mothers the importance of nutrition to enable them to provide the best possible care for their newborn.

And you can help families supplement the costs of operations, for conditions like Maala’s hole in the heart, if families cannot afford them.