A LIMERICK city man’s images played an important role in raising vital funds for aid agency Concern Worldwide, which helped save thousands of children’s lives in Somalia.
Concern photographer, Kieran McConville, took photographs of a severely malnourished five-year-old girl called Yasmiin Hassan on March 15 this year.
They were used in Concern’s ‘East Africa Appeal’ which raised more than €1.5 million. That money helped Concern staff treat children like Yasmiin and return her from near death to a smiling, healthy child, who is still visited by the charity’s staff to ensure she remains in good health.
Kieran said he was “delighted” when he saw images that clearly show the recovery Yasmiin made just 12 weeks after he saw her in such an emaciated state.
“I met Yasmiin when she was at her lowest ebb, but the beauty and energy of a five year old were still there deep down,” he said.
“What our team in Mogadishu have done for her is just brilliant – and they’ve been doing this for thousands of children this year.
“They are simply amazing and so are the Irish public, who have been really generous in their support. At a time when the people of Somalia are dealing with so much darkness, this is a glimmer of light.”
Concern Worldwide has heaped praise on the people of Limerick and the rest of the country for helping save the life of Yasmiin and other children in war-ravaged Somalia through their generous donations.
Yasmiin – one of 1.1 million Somalis forced to flee their homes due to conflict – weighed the same as an average two-year-old when she was brought to a Concern nutrition centre on the outskirts of Mogadishu in March.
Her condition was so bad, her mother, Aamiina, believed she would suffer the same fate as one of her brothers, who sadly died with similar symptoms at a time when they had no access to a health clinic.
However, after 12 weeks of treatment, Yasmiin made a full recovery and Concern’s health and nutrition team maintain contact with her to ensure she remains healthy.
“Life and joy returned to her eyes,” said Concern’s Regional Director for the Horn of Africa, Carol Morgan.
“She increased her weight from 12.4kg to a healthier 16.7kg – and measurements of her left upper arm also confirmed an improvement to her health.
“It brings immense joy to the staff when you see the recovery of children we care for like Yasmiin. The staff know they saved that child’s life.
“Her smile is a great relief just weeks after being in such an emaciated state. It is truly heart breaking to see any child malnourished.
“You see an emptiness and loss of happiness in their eyes. They stare ahead at nothing, not focusing on anything. They don’t play and have no energy – so it is such a relief to see them recover.”
The East Africa appeal followed the severe drought across East Africa that left an estimated 20 million people facing starvation.
Concern treated 53,425 children aged from birth to five for malnutrition in Mogadishu and the Lower Shabelle regions of Somalia between January and October this year.
The aid agency said the number of children it reached in the country in 2017 was three times higher than the amount of children reached in 2016.
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