“Dum Spiro Spero” – While there is life, there is hope

Samuel ensures Agnes gets to school daily

Agnes was born on September 7th, 2011, to Paul and Comfort of Beposo in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Paul and Comfort prayed earnestly for a first female child, Agnes was considered an answered prayer from God. Being the only female and the youngest of three children, her parents had a lot of hope in her.

This hope was short-lived. Paul tells SHI, at age three Agnes could hardly talk or walk properly. It was difficult for her to mingle with her peers. At one point, they suspected Agnes was deaf but weren’t able to access proper healthcare. The family began moving from one prayer camp to another. In Ghana, a prayer camp is where a group of people meet to pray for weeks and months to God for miracles to take place in their lives.

Agnes weighed 28.5 pounds in April, 2015

Finally, on February 4th 2015, Agnes enrolled at the Beposo Islamic Basic school where she is served breakfast prepared from Quality Protein Maize (QPM) every morning. She would go to school every morning staggering or being carried on the back of her elder brother, Samuel. It was very challenging at first but with support from the QPM team and their parents their prayers were answered.

Through continuous interactions with peers and regular protein intake, Agnes’s speech is much better. She recites poems and rhymes and she is no longer shy of peers. Though, she still walks with difficulty, there is improvement.

The Self-Help QPM team measures the weights and heights of beneficiary children quarterly to track impact. In April of 2015, Agnes weighed 28.5 pounds (13 kg) and was 32 inches tall. In August she weighed 32 pounds (14.5 kg), an increase of more than 10 percent of her body weight (3.5 pounds/1.5 kg), in just 4 months.  Her father refers to the physical improvements as ‘bonus’ in addition to her mental improvements.

Agnes is healthier and more alert in August 2015

In addition to supporting school feeding programs, the QPM team takes time to train parents and teachers about the importance of protein consumption to childhood brain development. The faith of Paul and Comfort in the production and utilization of QPM has increased. They no longer say “every maize is maize” but rather place premium on maize with high protein content. They are among twenty-three farmers who willingly offered to grow QPM to support the Beposo School Feeding Program in the Atwima Mponua District of Ghana.

Paul with inputs to grow QPM for the school

Continuously supporting the feeding program will not only restore hope in the lives of people such as Agnes, but will also ensure the production and availability of food to feed the growing world population.