I would like to tell you the story of two brothers we have living here at the Andrew Blais Orphanage Home in Motsekuoa, Mafeteng, Lesotho. They arrived here together two years ago (2016) and are the two youngest boys we currently house. One of them—Danke—is eight years old, and the other—Kananelo—is four. In them we have seen some of the most obvious effects of the Nutri-Plenty meals we receive from the Lesotho Nutrition Initiative. They are both classified as vulnerable children. That means that they are not orphaned but for other reasons they are not allowed to, or are not safe to stay with their families. In their case, they were abandoned by an unfit mother and their father is unknown. As you may know, the first five years of a child’s life are of key importance to both cognitive and physical growth. Danke was six when he arrived here and for those first six years of his life he was not properly cared for and did not receive the nutrients he needed to grow properly. As a result, he has a severe stunting in his physical growth that will more than likely be with him his entire life. Now at eight years old, he is only three inches taller than his younger brother despite being four years older. Kananelo on the other hand who has been receiving LNI meals since he was two, is now one of the tallest, healthiest, and most active four year olds in the entire Motsekuoa community. It is absolutely amazing to see the difference proper nutrition has had in the lives of these two boys, and the way Kananelo has developed without having to face the same stunting problems as his brother.
That is not to say the LNI meals have not had a positive impact on Danke as well. Unfortunately, with so many years of malnutrition it will be extremely unlikely that Danke ever grows the height that he should have. However, the LNI meals have been proven to reverse the side effects of malnutrition on cognitive growth and Danke is now thriving in school and social interaction. Having a home here at Andrew Blais and the incredible amount of LNI meals we receive have not only been life altering for these boys, but lifesaving…and they are only two out of the 50 children that live in our home and are receiving the benefits of the meals.
The impact these meals have had on our children at the orphanage has been so noticeable and positive that two more institutions in the Motsekuoa community have just received their first shipment of LNI meals as well. First, the Motsekuoa Health Centre—here a group of mothers with children under two years old who struggle to provide proper nutrition to their kids will be receiving 18 meals every month to help their young children develop to their full potential. Also, the Center for Disabled Children—similar to our orphanage this center is home to children who need special care and attention based on physical and mental special needs. The community here in Motsekuoa is incredibly thankful for the support of the Lesotho Nutrition Initiative and the impact the meals are having on the physical and cognitive growth of our youth. The entire community here believes that every child deserves a chance. LNI is giving them that chance. Thank you Lesotho Nutrition Initiative for all that you do for Lesotho as a whole, and especially for our Motsekuoa community.
-Kelsie Arlin ‘18