Despite all the chaos in the world, there is hope.

We live in a dangerous world. Every day, children face violence, disease and hunger. They’re forced to flee their homes and denied an education.

It’s easy to feel powerless against the swell of global crisis and poverty. But there’s also something to smile about: every day, we see incredible stories of survival and recovery.

Baby Umara’s path to recovery in Nigeria

When a child has malnutrition, every day counts.

Early detection could save a child’s life. That’s why UNICEF trains community health workers to identify malnutrition as soon as possible. One of our best tools is a simple plastic tape which measures the circumference of the upper arm. If a child falls in the red zone, they have severe acute malnutrition and we have to act fast.
A healthy baby’s arm circumference would be 12.5 cm. When Umara came in to the clinic, he measured nine. Within a month, he was on the road to recovery. © UNICEF/UN041139/Vittozzi

That’s exactly what the health staff at this clinic in Nigeria did when baby Umara arrived. The seven-month-old weighed four kilograms, was severely malnourished and dehydrated.

UNICEF acted quickly. Umara was given life-saving treatment of therapeutic food, vitamin A, antibiotics and anti-malarial medicine. His mum went home with packets of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, a peanut-based paste that’s high in calories, vitamins and minerals and can bring a child back to health fast.
"When Umara came for the third visit, he was looking okay," says UNICEF Nutrition Officer Aishat Mohammed Abdullahi. "He was playing, laughing, he does not have any problem." © UNICEF Nigeria/Vittozzi

A few weeks later, a lot has changed. Umara has put on more than a kilogram, his arm circumference has grown and he’s lively and cheerful again. He’s still malnourished but his incredible improvement has the health staff optimistic that he’ll make a full recovery. And Mum’s smiling for the first time in three weeks.
“He can play, eat and drink now! He is not being sick anymore. He is so happy!”
Watch Umara’s progress in this heartwarming video:

Salim’s remarkable turnaround in Yemen

This incredible recovery from malnutrition happened after only five weeks of treatment in a UNICEF-supported health clinic.  © UNICEF/Al Zikry

This is the power of therapeutic food. In 2016, UNICEF distributed 33,000 tonnes of the life-saving supplies to hospitals and mobile health teams around the world. It’s part medicine, part food, and every mouthful helps a children survive deadly malnutrition.

Salim is one of those survivors. His recovery is all thanks to his mother’s care, this health clinic in Yemen and the UNICEF donors who keep it stocked with life-saving health supplies like therapeutic food and milk. Just five weeks of treatment brought strength back to Salim's body and a smile to his face.

War in Yemen has left half a million children like Salim severely malnourished but every day, UNICEF donors from right here in Australia are helping children recover, grow and smile again.

Khadija’s return to health in Nigeria

Reliable funds from our supporters help UNICEF scale up our response in an emergency and work fast to reach children who just can’t wait. Our quick response made a real difference for Khadija, who fell victim to a spiralling food crisis in Nigeria.

She was starving when she arrived at an emergency paediatric unit. Her arm was barely wider than her mother’s thumb.

“I fell sick myself and could not breastfeed,” said her mother. “We have no food. Some days I could not feed her at all. I could only comfort her, hold her when she cried.”

This incredible recovery from malnutrition happened after only five weeks of treatment in a UNICEF-supported health clinic. © UNICEF/Al Zikry

20 days of therapeutic food and medicine saved Khadija’s life. The treatment brought strength back to her body and a smile of relief to her mum’s face. The pair left the hospital with handfuls of therapeutic food that Mum could use from home until her daughter was fully recovered.

Nyajime’s long term progress in South Sudan

UNICEF supporters helped 3 million children survive severe acute malnutrition last year. These aren’t just numbers. Each baby who survives malnutrition, every child protected from stunting and every family given another chance has an important story to tell.

This is Nyajime’s story.

When her father Michael rushed her to this UNICEF-supported clinic in South Sudan, she weighed just nine kilograms - less than half a child her age should weigh.
UNICEF is the world’s largest buyer of therapeutic food, providing an incredible 80% of global supplies to help children survive deadly malnutrition. © UNICEF/Rich

"There was no food at home and we couldn't feed her well. The day when I brought her to the clinic she wasn't moving, she couldn't walk or sit," said her father Michael. When fighting broke out in their village of Bentiu, the family fled more than 1,000 kilometres to make it to a shelter for civilians.

Nyajime had severe acute malnutrition but she didn’t struggle alone. Michael stayed by her side as doctors treated her with therapeutic food and medicine. Within days, Nyajime sat up, put on weight and started smiling again. She had been given another chance at life.
A year later, Nyajime is full of life. Thanks to the fast and effective treatment she received, she can learn, play and grow up healthy. © UNICEF/UN047620/Rich

Give a child a reason to smile

We hear about children like Nyajime on the news. Children struggling to survive conflict and disaster. Children who are running out of ways to deal with poverty. These children deserve our shock and empathy but more than anything they deserve our help.

UNICEF health workers know how to bring a child back from the brink of deadly malnutrition. We have the global network to respond as soon as children need us in every region of the world. But we can’t do it alone. Join our group of monthly supporters in Australia delivering therapeutic food, medicine and water to vulnerable children.

What we’re doing is working. Every day, UNICEF donors make thousands of children like Nyajime smile because they’ve beat malnutrition. But emergencies are stretching our teams and resources to the limit. We've never needed your generosity more. Join our Global Parents and deliver the essential supplies that shape a child’s future and bring a smile to their face.
Make a child smile