Vulnerable Pakistani women and children are benefitting from an Islamic Relief nutrition project. Around 58 per cent of the population of Pakistan are thought to be food insecure.

Since last summer, thousands of malnourished children, as well as expectant and breastfeeding women, have accessed our supplementary feeding programme. Delivered for the first time by Islamic Relief in AJK, the project operates within existing health facilities in the district of Bagh.

Anchal and her mother Shahista live in Danna Hullar Syedan village.

Anchal and her mother Shahista live in Danna Hullar Syedan village.

Anchal Mudassar was significantly underweight when she was enrolled on the free scheme. For three months, she received fortified food and her mother participated in sessions designed to promote child nutrition.

“Initially I was not aware of a problem with my daughter,” said her mother, Shahista. “When Islamic Relief conducted sessions on the importance of nutrition and breastfeeding, it was amazing how important [it is for parents to know about] nutrition.”

Now discharged from the feeding programme, Anchal is a healthy one year-old.

Robina Saeed, 19, was expecting her second child when she joined the programme. She received fortified cereal and oil for four months, and learned how poor nutrition in pregnant mothers can affect their babies.

“Before, we never really thought much about nutrition,” said Robina. “But today, I know about the importance of a balanced diet for pregnant women and their babies, as well as the role of breastfeeding. I have taken all my food properly and now I am feeling an improvement in my health.”

So far, the project – which is supported by the World Food Programme and coordinated with the government of Pakistan – has improved nutrition for over 3,000 malnourished children and more than 1,100 mothers.

Islamic Relief runs similar life-saving schemes in other poor communities worldwide, including in Afghanistan and northern Mali.