The Ivory Foundation supports the NGO “Touching Tiny Lives”, based in Mokhotlong, Lesotho.
Since 2004, the organization has been supporting vulnerable young children, particularly those affected by HIV / AIDS and malnutrition, in the most remote areas of the country.
Because of its altitude, Lesotho displays temperatures that remain cool throughout the year. Winters are cold and dry and it snows often in the highlands between May and September. Mokhotlong is precisely located in this zone, in the north east of the country, at more than 2000m of altitude.
In addition, with national HIV rates of around 24% (the second highest in the world) and tuberculosis rates also climbing to fourth in the world, Lesotho is at the epicenter of the global HIV pandemic. The effects of these diseases are widespread, often resulting in health complications such as malnutrition and an inability to combat even common diseases, especially in young children. With AIDS as the leading cause of death in the country, an estimated 150,000 children are AIDS orphans. Touching Tiny Lives strives to respond to this situation by providing care for vulnerable children and their families, including setting up and duplicating a model of two integrated programs: preventing and training families, as well as welcoming the children who need it in “safe homes”.
These centers welcome babies (10 to 15 per center) that have been identified (by field doctors, village chiefs, social workers, or persons already sensitized …) in situations of under-nourishment.
Children are cared for over 3 months until they have regained weight and retrieved proper health. Then they are entrusted again to families (usually mothers or grandmothers).
5 health centers, spread throughout the district also receive monthly families with their babies, for weight and vaccinations as well as post-natal nutrition information.
Prevention is carried out in collaboration with the regional agricultural departments of the country, and consists in teaching the basics of healthy nutrition (with cooking demonstrations and balanced and inexpensive recipes) and also encouraging the consumption of vegetables in family or community gardens. These activities aim to reduce the risk of undernourishment for future mothers and children, but sometimes food support is also needed for families in severe under-nutrition. The organization is not able to support all families who need it. It is therefore necessary to anticipate and train them so that they can meet their own needs by producing themselves what they consume.
In 2016, The Ivory Foundation supported the nutrition component of this project, through the establishment of vegetable gardens in health centers, as well as the training of communities in permaculture and agro-ecology methods, in order to provide a substantial and lasting supplement to families.