Colombia: A Strong and Powerful Mom

Published on 07 March 2013

Maryelly and her baby Gilbran, beneficiaries of WFP's relief operations in the Departament of Caquetá in Colombia.

Maryelly Layton was seven months pregnant when she had to flee her community as a result of violence. Because of her precarious conditions, her baby was born prematurely, but thanks to its strength and WFP’s food Maryelly has recovered and also feed her baby.

Maryelly Layton is an 18-year-old woman who was the victim of forced displacement in Colombia. When she fled her community of “El Foro”, in the town of La Montañita in the Caqueta Department, on 25 August 2012, Maryelly was seven months pregnant.

She arrived in the city of Florencia where she found a place to stay at a relative’s house, but housing and socioeconomic conditions in her new home were not the most suitable for a young pregnant woman. On 7 September 2012, she rushed to the emergency room at the Maria Inmaculada de Florencia Hospital due to her poor conditions, among them lack of proper nutrition and psychological stress, which induced a premature birth. That day a baby boy was born weighing 1,400 grams and measuring 44 centimeters. This small baby boy today goes by the name of Gilbran Stiven.

Because of his low weight and pulmonary immaturity, Gilbran had to remain hospitalized for 17 days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). During that time, Maryelly received food assistance thanks to a WFP relief and recovery operation which provided her with the proper nutrition on her condition as a new mother. For her the food was “fit like a glove” because she was jobless, had to look after her newborn in the hospital and she was still recovering from her Cesarean section. She needed adequate nutrition and the food provided by WFP helped her maintain her nutritional status.

Today, Gilbran Stiven is about to be 6 months old and, thanks to the care and love of his mother, he is in good health, weighs 6,000 grams, and is taller than 69 centimeters. He is still recovering, taking into account that the boy was born 9 weeks before expected.

Unfortunately, stories like that of Maryelly and Gibran are common in Colombia. Nevertheless, this is a great example showing that when proper nutrition comes at the right time at the place, it can make the difference between an uncertain future and one full of opportunities and development.

WFP in Colombia assists more than 9,000 mothers and children suffering food insecurity. Thanks to the provision of food and complementary activities, WFP guarantees that assisted children and families will receive proper tools to live a healthy live.