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Marie Sesay: The Mother a Whole Community Needs

Marie Sesay: The Mother a Whole Community Needs


The first post in our Healthy Moms, Healthy Kids series

We start our series by introducing you to 76-year-old Marie Sesay, who is known by her neighbors as Mama Marie. She lives in the "Sunshine Community" in the western part of the city of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Marie successfully raised four children, who are now adults, and now also has 18 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren, none of whom live with her. Even though at her age, she could have easily decided to relax and take care of herself, Marie had more to give. She decided to take in five children from her community: two teenagers, a seven-year old, a four-year old, and a nine-month-old baby.  These children were either orphaned or abandoned, and had no one to care for them. Sierra Leone has the world's highest rate of maternal mortality, and an estimated one in five children in the country die before reaching the age of five.

Marie Sesay's story, in her own words

I am a lead mother, one of the mothers trained by Action Against Hunger to raise awareness about maternal nutrition and infant and young child feeding practices among women and mothers in my community.

I belong to an Action Against Hunger support group of ten women that are all mothers or grandmothers. Three of the members of my group were pregnant at the time the group was set up. We meet every Sunday and discuss topics around maternal nutrition, feeding practices, good hygiene, and the importance of seeking prompt and frequent health care for our children and grandchildren. 
One of the kids living with me now, Lizzy, who is four, was brought to me by a healthcare worker when she was 18 months old. She suffered from severe acute malnutrition. Lizzy was abandoned by her mother when she was about 15 months old, and three months later, was abandoned by her father at the health post. He believed she was about to die.

Read more: Marie Sesay, the mother a whole community needs (ACF USA)

Written by: Jammie Victory Sankoh

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