Project #215 | Critical Nutritional Support for Children with PKU in Palestine
Our Partnership with Rebuilding Alliance
Over 570 children in Palestine live with Phenylketonuria (PKU), a medical condition made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic collapse. Infants and children with PKU are unable to metabolize protein and therefore must follow a strict low-protein diet to prevent permanent brain damage. COVID-19 disrupted reliable access to these crucial foods for PKU patients in the West Bank & Gaza. Each PKU child needs six cans per month. Infants and children went more than four months with extremely unreliable access to food, to the point where when formula became seldom available, they rejected it.
One Day’s Wages partnered with Rebuilding Alliance to cover food for over one hundred children in Gaza for an additional month. The supplemental formula was life-saving for these children & their families due to the mental deterioration and institutionalization that can occur if PKU is not cared for properly. With a low protein diet and the proper amounts of medical food formula on a daily basis, PKU children develop typically and grow into healthy & productive adults.
Our Collective Impact
Cans of Formula Distributed
People Directly Impacted
Children with PKU
Meet Jehad & Jana
Jehad and Jana Abu Askar were diagnosed with PKU about a week after birth, for which there is no cure. They get the nutrients they need from protein by drinking phenyl-free milk and other such custom foods. In March of 2017, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank said that it could not afford to continue sending in phenyl-free foods. At that time, Jana was four months old, a time when she completely relied on the custom milk. Without access, her health deteriorated as she rapidly lost weight and suffered skin abrasions.
“It was as if her skin was consuming itself. She was slowly and painfully dying before our eyes,” Sanabel, Jehad and Jana’s mother, remembered. After a number of failed attempts, Jana finally received a permit to travel to Jerusalem, where she received care at al-Makassed Palestinian Hospital. Since then, Jana gradually regained her health. She traveled to al-Makassed Hospital another three times until she made a full recovery, but the milk was still not available in Gaza.
“Each can of milk costs $78 and we need at least two cans a week for both children,” said Sanabel. Their father’s salary cannot cover the price of even half the needed amount every month, assuming the milk is even available. But with access to the phenyl-free milk supplements, Jehad and Jana now have access to the critical nutritional support they need to grow up healthy and strong.
Thank you for making this possible!
Our movement is grassroots, to us that not only means the work on the ground is led by local leaders with the support of the community, but it also means that we raise the funds for our projects through everyday donors just like you. In addition to all the donors that gave $25, $100, or $250 and the campaigners that ran a race or donated their birthday to raise funds, we also want to thank our generous business, school, and faith sponsors who believed in our work and joined the movement.
If you want to support future projects like this you can make a donation to our clean water fund.