Through Their Eyes

Sofia – Karanga 2

Sofia is an energetic and talkative young girl who receives day services from Karanga 2 day center. She is always the first child to greet any visitor (as you can see below!). She has a beautiful smile and tons of energy! Every time we visit Karanga 2, our interaction with Sofia is memorable and brightens our day.

Sofia is 12 years old. She is 3’2’’ tall and weighs 25 lbs. She is extremely malnourished. She started attending the day center in 2008. Her mother did not know about the services BCC was providing, but an outreach worker came to her home one day and talked with her about the services that Sofia could receive at the day center.

Sofia has a 4 year old brother. As you can see in the photo below, she is about the same size as her brother. Her father recently left family to seek employment in Dar es Salaam. Her mother has not heard from him since he left. Her mother does not work, but she volunteers at Karanga 2. She cooks, cleans, and helps with the children in the center. She receives a small living stipend of less than $30 per month for volunteering with BCC. She reports that most of that money goes toward rent.

Sofia lives with her brother and mother. No other member of the family supports them. The family often does not have enough money to purchase food during the week or on the weekends, so the only nutritious meals that Sofia, her brother, and her mother eat is during the day at the BCC day center. Although Sofia’s brother is in his height and weight category for a four year old, Sofia cannot catch up due to malnourishment as a young child.

When Sofia started attending the day center she could not speak or walk. She was much more malnourished than she currently is now. Thanks to therapies that she received in the day center and from CCBRT, she can now walk on her own. Also, she is now very talkative due to the interactions with her peers in the day center.

Fortunately Sofia does not become sick very often. However, she has started to have regular seizures. Her mother takes her to the doctor when she becomes ill, but it is difficult for her to afford doctor fees and medication, especially since she cannot afford regular meals.

Her mother says that she is incredibly thankful for the meals in the day center and for the living stipend that she receives from BCC. She is happy that she can take her children to a place where they will be safe. Even though times are very tough for the family, it is easy to see how much of an impact the services BCC provides can have on a family, such as this one.

With the implementation of the BCC preventative healthcare program, Sofia will see a medical student four times a year and will receive a general assessment from a medical doctor twice a year. There will also be funds for her to be able to follow-up with a specialist once she receives a referral from those visits. We are excited for the possibilities that this healthcare program could provide for Sofia!

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