TO CRY FOR GRACE
Want to Know More?
To Cry For Grace is a multi-faceted malnutrition treatment and prevention program on the island of Idjwi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project consists of three individual programs: two children's homes (an acute care malnutrition home and a recovery home) , a malnutrition clinic, and a large-scale community malnutrition education and prevention program. Our goal is to acutely treat severely malnourished children whose survival is at risk while also empowering and educating families to be able to then effectively care for their own children once again.
The malnutrition home is designed to take in those children who are severely malnourished and who need immediate intervention for the sake of their survival. They stay with us and receive three balanced meals per day, new shoes and clothing, extensive wound care, healthcare, and a warm bed to sleep in every night, all while teaching them how much Jesus loves them and showing them how much we love them too! For those children who become well enough, they are then transitioned into our recovery home. Although not a part of the original plan, our recovery home was designed to care for our recovered children whose families are not yet ready to care for them independently. As our community program grows, we hope that many of these families will soon be equipped to care for them. In the meantime, they live with us and are enrolled in school.
The community malnutrition project is intended to help formulate a longer-term solution to the malnutrition issue on Idjwi. We have a community program director and her assistant, as well as four regional supervisors and forty village health workers. Monthly classes are held at our clinic for parents of our children, as well as monthly community training sessions for all community program workers. Visits to each of the three districts are also made monthly with several purposes: to hold classes for the village health workers in that region who then pass along the education to the community, to identify and recruit other severely malnourished children who need to be admitted to our malnutrition home, to provide resources to those families with children who are only mildly malnourished, and to make follow-up visits with any of our children who have returned to their families. Weekly educational seminars are also broadcast on the local radio station
The malnutrition clinic acts as a screening center for those children who have been identified through the community program as high-risk. There is one doctor and one nurse hired to operate the clinic and they are responsible for screening prospective children and admitting them to our children's malnutrition home. They also perform daily assessments of each child in our home, and provide treatment and wound care to them. When children from our home become sick or need isolated care, they stay in the malnutrition clinic so as to heal and prevent the spread of illness and infection to the other children. Currently, we are developing a program for poorer, uneducated pregnant mothers to stay at the clinic for monitoring and to receive education. There are classrooms to provide education to pregnant women on how to properly nourish their children as well as a demonstration garden to teach them what foods to grow and how to grow it. The main goal is to prevent malnutrition by educating and empowering mothers before they have children.
To Cry For Grace is unique in the fact that every worker hired is local and native to DRC. The incredible African individuals that work for this project are competent, passionate, and very good at what they do. They are able to provide excellent care because they speak the language, know the culture, and have empathy for their struggling brothers and sisters around them. This also provides them with jobs and the ability to provide for their own families.
This project is continually growing and evolving to best meet the needs of the community, and we are dedicated to allowing God to direct in whatever ways He leads us!