Reporting by ChildFund Brazil
Tainá would like to have a beautiful doll. She would also like a little house like the one she visited with the nice lady from the day care center to get her picture taken.
The 4-year-old lives with her grandmother, siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins in a two-bedroom house in Brazil. The grandmother cites Tainá’s needs for clothes and shoes and adequate food — maybe some milk each day, and some fruit. She worries that Tainá is too small for her age and that her development isn’t where it should be.
After Tainá’s difficult beginnings, her grandmother’s concern is understandable. Tainá had difficulty breathing from the start, due to what turned out to be a collapsed lung. This made her susceptible to bronchitis, and she was often hospitalized for severe respiratory crises.
Breathing difficulties tend to complicate the feeding of infants, and Tainá was no exception. Her serial illnesses kept her chronically undernourished, so she stayed fragile and unable to develop proper motor coordination, including walking and speaking.
This was where things stood in 2008, when Tainá’s family first enrolled in Centro Social de Apoio à Criança e ao Adolescent of Conjunto Paulo VI, ChildFund’s partner organization in the area. Tainá was 1 year old.
Through home visits, the center’s staff quickly recognized Tainá’s health status and began to act. The first step was to examine Tainá’s and her family’s nutritional status. Center staff provided the family some education about health and nutrition, as well as some help with medicines, and Tainá was given two daily meals as well as nutritional supplements.
She began to gain weight. The bronchitis crises became fewer and farther between.
Now 4, Tainá walks, talks and plays. She just started school.
She wants a beautiful doll. Her family already has one.