Photo: WFP/Arete/Adetona Omokanye

With Loving, Tender Care: A Tribute to Grandparents on the Frontlines of the Fight Against Childhood Hunger

World Food Program USA
September 10, 2021

Grandparents play a vital role in fostering nurturing, safe and healthy childhoods. For the 45 million children across the globe facing severe hunger, the presence and support of loving grandparents can be the difference between shedding tears on an empty stomach and smiling wide at the sight of a full dinner plate.  

In honor of Grandparents’ Day, here are six stories of grandparents bringing joy, comfort and strength to their families.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Kyeusi and her husband recently returned to their home in Tundwa after fleeing conflict. Throughout the arduous task of rebuilding their lives from scratch, these grandparents remained a line of support for their grandson Kabenga. With cash assistance from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Kyeusi was able to invest in livestock like pigs and ducks and hire more hands to cultivate their farmland.

Now, Kyeusi and her husband grow enough corn, beans, vegetables and cassava to keep their grandson happy and healthy.

Nigeria

woman in full pink headscarf holding little girl
Photo: WFP/Arete/Adetona Omokanye

“I am a food seller and the money I make from the food sales is what I use to feed my family. The hike in the price of food has not been easy on my side,” says Aisha Abdullahi, a trader, widow and mother of five children in northern Nigeria.

Aisha shares a name with and helps care for her four-year-old granddaughter Aisha Inuwa. Every week, she travels with other mothers and widows to their local market in Kano to buy yams, groundnuts and fresh vegetables. In some areas of West Africa, the prices of these staple foods have risen over 200 percent because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To counteract these high food prices, the U.N. World Food Programme provides 1.2 million people in Nigeria with monthly food and cash assistance. Electronic vouchers, mobile money and prepaid cards enable grandmothers like Aisha to browse their local markets with the confidence that they can afford nutritious foods to bring home to their families.

Syria

woman smiling holding little boy in winter hat
Photo: WFP/Hussam Al Saleh

“We thought that he weighed too little and this was confirmed when we brought him to the clinic to check on him. The doctor said that he is malnourished. She gave us the supplementary feeding butter, now we noticed that there is improvement compared to before, thank God,” says Um Fadi, Haidar’s grandmother.

1-year-old Haidar is cared for by his parents and grandparents in Tartous, a port city on the Mediterranean coast of Syria. When Haidar’s grandmother Um Fadi noticed he wasn’t eating well, she brough him to a health clinic supported by the U.N. World Food Programme.

Thanks to Um Fadi’s loving care and attention, Haidar began receiving treatment for malnutrition. Through fortified foods like nutritional peanut paste and regular body measurements, Haidar is on the road to recovery and now has a chance for a healthy childhood.

Malawi

Little Chifundo lost his mother to illness when he was only two weeks old. He now lives and is cared for by his grandmother Mangalita (pictured left). When Chifundo began showing symptoms of malnutrition, his uncle Wyson enrolled him in a U.N. World Food Programme feeding program.

Through the program, Chifundo receives Super Cereal Plus: a nutritious flour, corn and soy blend that Mangalita cooks into porridge to feed him. These loving, generous acts of retrieving and feeding Chifundo nutritious foods show the lifesaving impact family members can have on children’s health.

Zambia

When Esta’s village relied only on corn production, her grandson Hopeday quickly slid into severe hunger as harvests proved fickle and too dependent on rainfall. Using her wits and resources, Esta joined a local farming group and learned how to grow a more diverse range of crops. Today, Hopeday is healthy and has access to a healthy diet of cowpeas, legumes and other nutritious foods.

The U.N. World Food Programme supports farmers clubs like Esta’s to give farmers the support they need to harvest more crops, plant drought-tolerant seeds, reduce post-harvest losses and increase their incomes. With this training and support, grandmothers like Esta can keep their families nourished all year round.

Yemen

Oloum, grandmother to 11-year-old Riham and 13-year-old Ayman, serves as the breadwinner for her household. She lives in a small, old rented house in Taiz and receives a monthly voucher from the U.N. World Food Programme which she redeems for food at her local shops. This voucher-based food assistance was launched specifically for those facing hunger in urban areas like Oloum. Voucher in hand, Oloum now has decision-making power over which foods she brings home and prepares for her grandchildren.


We work every day to support caretakers like these grandparents who are on the frontlines of the fight against childhood hunger. To learn how you can join the fight and keep children nourished across the globe, visit our Childhood Hunger hub and donate today.