By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
MALNUTRITION is child abuse in disguise. It is child abuse in its ugliest form.
This was stressed by Hayward Sagemba, chairman of the Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) Inc, in a remark during a special feeding session for some 60 orphans and abandoned children at ATS Oro settlement at Seven-Mile on Christmas Eve.
“Their missing out on the basic balanced meal is the ugliest form of child abuse … this cruelty must stop,” Mr Sagemba said.
He said the kids’ deprivation of basic nutrition and adequate healthcare “is, no doubt, child abuse in disguise”.
Mr Sagemba said lack of proper nutrition, which could either be malnourishment or malnutrition, makes a child dull.
“This could later affect his intellect as a person,” he said.
Mr Sagemba said their six-year-old ministry continued to struggle with funds to buy food for the 78 deprived children.
He said: “Lack of enough money is our biggest problem … whatever (measly) funding TCC receives goes straight to the food budget.
“… We can’t afford to use it on other equally-pressing concerns like paying our volunteers’ allowances, especially those who teach our kids how to read and write …”
The 78 kids are fed once four times a week and each feeding is allotted only with K40 from the K400 monthly support Digicel Foundation and WeCare provide.
Under this tight budget, each child gets only K0.51 funding per meal.
Mr Sagemba said he and his wife Penny, who is the TCC founder and coordinator, were appealing to sponsors and donors who could relieve the orphanage of its healthcare problems.
Providing the children with decent meals was one area that aid donors could look into, and maybe consider, for permanent assistance, he said.
Mr Sagemba said: “We’re only a small, unknown entity but we got a big heart for our orphans and abandoned children … we are just a small tree in a wild jungle that we are almost unseen in the dark … we are practically fighting against big, known charity groups for the attention of institutional donors and funding entities.
“Our being ignored alone by aid donors further worsens the abuse our children suffer,” he stressed.
Mr Sagemba told The National the special Christmas Eve lunch was paid for by a “friend of TCC”.
Otherwise, the children would only have the usual slice of bread for lunch.