“I would feel weak. Sometimes I would sleep in class. Sometimes I could not concentrate,” explained Dudu, a young Christian girl in Zimbabwe, as she spoke to Barnabas Aid about her experience of malnutrition.
Dudu’s story is just one example of Christian children who are too weak from hunger to study. Many poor, vulnerable and elderly believers are becoming sick from lack of food as a result of successive droughts and failing crops.
“They would give me some crumbs and it would be like there’s something in my stomach that’s bad,” said Dudu. This is a common occurrence – those who are starving will struggle to digest even the smallest amounts of food when it is available. Especially when malnourished.
Hidden hunger – a hidden killer
The World Food Programme estimated in August 2023 that 24% of children aged five and under in Zimbabwe are chronically malnourished.
When children are malnourished, even common illnesses can become life threatening. While some have enough food for energy, these basics sometimes don’t provide sufficient vitamins and minerals. As such, serious diseases such as pellagra, stunting and measles are also on the rise in Zimbabwean children.
ePap – a simple porridge to help Christians survive
This year Barnabas has provided more than a million servings of ePap, a special maize-based porridge fortified with vitamins, minerals and protein.. Two months of daily ePap is enough to cure diseases caused by a nutrient-deficient diet.
“The porridge has changed their lives,” said one of our project partners in Zimbabwe.
“Those who are sick are much stronger than they would otherwise be without it,” said another.
Can you help this important work continue? Can you help bring lasting health and hope to Christians – young and old – in Zimbabwe?
How you can help
A child of seven or over needs a daily 50g (dry weight) serving of ePap. Infants aged one to six need half that ration.
£3.60 ($5.05; €4.15) could provide enough ePap for a child aged six or under for two months.
£14.40 ($20.20; €16.60) could provide enough ePap for two older children or for two weak or elderly adults for two months. Or for four younger children.
£28.80 ($40.40; €33.20) could provide enough ePap for eight younger children for two months.