Every Child Deserves a Chance

By Kim Saam

Meet Josué, a young child whose life has been forever changed by access to vitamins. This seemingly simple solution protects and improves health for vulnerable children everywhere.

 

$25 gives life-changing vitamin A to 100 children like Josué.

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          Josué loves animals, especially goats. The energetic one-and-half-year-old spends his days running around and playing with his cousins and the family goat. The chance to help feed goat brings Josué great joy.

          Mirlande, Josué’s mom, consider him the blessing of her life. Though the pregnancy was unplanned and required Mirlande to make the difficult decision to leave school before graduating, she is committed to ensuring her son has the best life possible.

          The family lives in a small two-room home that sits at the very top of a mountain in rural Haiti. It’s a thirty-minute walk from the nearest road accessible to cars. Up here, getting sick means either toughing it out alone or hiring a motorcycle for the hour-long journey to the nearest hospital. The combined cost of transportation and medical care is a double burden for those already living in poverty.

          From the moment Mirlande learned she was pregnant, she’s been committed to doing everything in her power to keep her baby healthy.  Mirlande took prenatal multivitamins during her pregnancy, noting, “Whenever I took the vitamins, I felt very revitalized. I could do my activities better during the day and felt less tired too.” She also followed her doctor’s recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of Josué's life. To her dismay, several months ago, Josué suffered from a chronic stomach ache. He cried all the time and refused to eat. Mirlande was scared.

          She took Josué to a distribution of vitamin A and deworming put on by one of Vitamin Angels' field partners nearby, and since then, Mirlande shared, his health has improved dramatically. Even the neighbors are talking about how much better the toddler looks.

          “It gives me happiness as Josué’s mother to see my child so healthy. The money I would spend at the hospital, I use it to feed him, and when he gets fed, he is the happiest little boy on the earth, and that fills my heart with joy.” Mirlande continued, “I would like to say thank you to the people who support [our children] with the vitamins. It is a very good initiative, and I encourage them to keep doing it.”

          Being isolated in a small area means illness spreads quickly, but so does word about the benefit of attending vitamin distributions. Theirs is a tight-knit community. Families help each other out, whether it’s watching the children, helping with the harvest, or shelling peas. 

          Mirlande has made a name for herself here, picking up various trades and working hard to take care of her family. Despite her youth, she is responsible and determined to be a positive role model for Josué. Most recently, Mirlande took up farming, and her crops are thriving. What the family doesn’t eat, Mirlande sells to neighbors and then uses the profits to buy Josué what he needs.  Josué goes to the farm every day with his mother and sometimes carries his own little packet of vegetables on their way home.

          Mirlande’s unshakeable confidence in providing a better life for their family through farming and education was profound.  Full of energy, joyful, and optimistic, she is focused on fulfilling her own dream of becoming a nurse. She plans to go back to school when Josué starts Kindergarten. For her son, she says, “I pray that Josué can become a doctor in order to take care of the sick people in our community. We need healthcare workers more than anything here.”


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