Fanta’s Story: Playing Her Part to Improve the Lives of Others
Fanta Bangura is 17 years old and grew up in Yiben, a rural community in the Koinadugu district. Early in her marriage, she moved to Freetown with her husband and shortly after became pregnant with their first child. Unfortunately, like so many children under five in Sierra Leone, Fanta’s first son Foday, died. Fanta explains, “I introduced the child to water and bottle feeding from the time he was a week old. I know now that this is the wrong practice.”
Fanta and her husband then returned to the Koinadugu district. Soon after a CARE staff member in her community established a community health club (CHC). Fanta became interested and decided to join the group. Based on her participation and commitment to her community, she was selected by the group to be the CHC secretary and then a short time later selected to be trained as one of the community growth promotion volunteers by CARE.
Fanta has learned a lot from her time working with CARE and from her participation in CARE’s health clubs and support groups. When her time came to give birth to her second child, she had her mother-in-law and the traditional birth attendant take her to the birth waiting home – an initiative started by CARE that has since been adopted by the Window program. At the birth waiting home, Fanta participated in daily health education sessions, which were focused on early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding, and timely complementary feeding.
After two weeks of waiting, Fanta delivered a healthy baby girl at the peripheral health unit (PHU). Fanta immediately put into practice what she had learned.
“I placed my child on the breast within 30 minutes of delivery and started practicing exclusive breastfeeding. Now I am a proud mother with a healthy growing child,” she said.
Fanta later seized another opportunity to be trained as a mother-to-mother support group facilitator in Yiben. When asked why she decided to be trained as a mother facilitator, she said:
“I wanted to contribute to the development process of my community and ensure community cohesion. People like me have gained so much knowledge from the mother-to-mother support group, the community health club and the pregnant women’s support group sessions. I have a role to play in the lives of other women in this community.”
Fanta has expressed her gratitude for CARE for contributing to the health and survival of her child.