Facia: A Story of Empowerment and Nutrition
Irish Aid and Power of Nutrition Transform Lives of Liberian Girls
In the heart of Margibi County, Liberia, 15-year-old Facia is a beacon of hope amidst a community grappling with the challenges of malnutrition and anaemia. As a 9th-grade student at Lango Lippaye High School, Facia's story is a testament to the transformative power of nutrition and the impact of UNICEF's adolescent programme in Liberia.
Facia's journey began at the age of 13 when she started experiencing the debilitating effects of anaemia. The onset of her menstrual cycle brought with it a constant battle against fatigue, dizziness, and headaches. These symptoms often hampered her ability to attend school, complete household chores, and support her family.
"People used to say I'm lazy," Facia recalls, her voice laced with a hint of sadness. "I would try my best to work, but it was hard for me to be strong during that time."
Facia's brother, recognizing her struggles, stepped into shoulder some of her responsibilities. He would fetch water, break wood, and assist with farm work, ensuring that Facia could focus on her studies and her health.
A turning point came when the school health club introduced Facia to the importance of proper nutrition and hygiene. Through nutrition educational sessions, she learned about the benefits of consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods and the importance of regular handwashing.
"We learned how to take care of ourselves," Facia explains, her eyes sparkling with newfound knowledge. "We learned about different types of food to eat, and for the past three years, we've been taking worm medicine and iron tablets provided by the hospital."
Initially, there was resistance from some parents who were hesitant to allow their daughters to take the medication. However, through community engagement and education, Action Against Hunger and the government hospital successfully dispelled myths and misconceptions, ensuring that all eligible girls received the necessary treatment.
For Facia, the impact of the medication was almost immediate. She noticed a surge of energy, a disappearance of headaches, and a renewed zest for life.
"I can go to school all the time now," she declares with pride. "I can do my work at home, help my mother sell her market, and I'm no longer tired or lazy. I feel strong and healthy."
Facia's story is one of many that highlights the success of UNICEF's adolescent programme in Liberia. With funding from Irish Aid and Power of Nutrition, the programme has reached thousands of girls like Facia, providing them with the knowledge and resources they need to combat malnutrition and anaemia, empowering them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.
"I'm grateful to the Irish people and UNICEF for working with the government to make sure there is medicine for us and that our teachers are trained to teach us," Facia concludes, her voice filled with gratitude.
Facia's transformation from a struggling teenager to a vibrant, empowered young woman is a testament to the power of nutrition and the dedication of Irish Aid, and the Power of Nutrition. Their combined efforts are creating a brighter future for girls in Liberia, ensuring that they have the tools they need to reach their full potential.