Lives transformed by support groups

Bisharo, 27, is a mother of five children under seven.

Bisharo, 27, is a mother of five children under seven. She lives with her husband in a rural village in Somalia in an iron-sheet house that gets very hot in the day and very cold at night.

Her first three children were born before Medair started working in her village. “I gave birth to my first three children here at home,” she said. “After each delivery, I felt a lot of pain. I got infections and had to buy medicine from the private shops in the village.”

Working in partnership with trusted local organisations, Medair now trains and supervises Care Group volunteers who go door to door and share health, hygiene, and nutrition messages with mothers like Bisharo. These volunteers encourage people to visit health facilities, and they promote healthy behaviour like exclusive breastfeeding and basic treatment of childhood diseases.

“The volunteers have taught me things that I didn’t know before: where to go when anyone in my family becomes sick, how to wash our hands properly, and how to take care of myself when I am pregnant,” said Bisharo.

Bisharo delivered her last two children at the health facility supported by Medair in her village, and this time she didn’t experience any problems. “When I compared the situation during my first three births and my last two births, I could see that there was a great difference! Ever since I delivered at the health facility, I have been healthy.”

Prior to the Care Groups, Bisharo’s children had suffered frequent cases of diarrhoea. “The volunteers have helped my family so much. They teach us to wash our hands before eating and after visiting the toilet. They visit us in our homes and are so friendly. We trust each other and I am comfortable telling them my family problems.”

Bisharo receives regular support from the volunteers through their bi-weekly visits. They encourage her to maintain high standards of hygiene in her home to protect her family from diseases. “I am happy and I can interact with my neighbours,” she said.

She applies the lessons learned in her household and in her community, sharing what she has learned with her neighbours as well.  “Thank you for coming to assist us here in Somalia!”

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To protect her security, Bisharo’s name has been changed, and her face is not shown.

Medair’s work in Somalia is funded by US Agency for International Development, EO Metterdaad (NL),  TEAR (AU)/Australia Aid, All We Can (UK), Swiss Solidarity, Ferster Foundation (CH), and the generous support of individual donors.                    

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.