Thin Thin Khaing, is a 27-year-old mother whose small family benefits from her participation in CWS-led nutrition education activities. She and her husband, Kan Tun, have a 4-year-old daughter named May Phu Khaing, and they have lived in Let Pan Tan village for many years. As poor farmers they earn about 40,000 Kyat ($29) monthly growing and selling chili during the dry season (November-April) on their single acre of land. Unfortunately, this is almost all they earn for the whole year because they cannot grow anything on their land during the rainy and flooding season, and they both find it hard to get casual wage labor work.
Even with a small income, Ma Khaing thought she fed her toddler well and she was surprised to learn during a nutrition survey of all young children in Let Pan Tan that May Phu Khaing was technically malnourished. “I thought I had taken good care of [my daughter], so I did not feel good about her condition and I wanted to learn more about nutrition and hygiene to help her grow up healthy. I joined in all the education sessions offered by CWS, and I did not feel shy or ashamed to ask questions. Also, I practiced cooking new foods and in new ways at home. I also shared what I leaned with my neighbors, and with May Phu Khaing’s grandmothers and other relatives.”
After Ma Khaing completed her nutrition and hygiene education work, and because of their limited income, the family received a rooster, three hens and plastic netting to create a caged area for the them, plus water cress, spinach, long bean and pumpkin seeds along with gardening tools to give them a jump start in improving May Phy Khaing’s health and the family’s overall wellbeing. After a few months, there were 10 new chicks and a lot of eggs, and Ma Khaing cooked a variety of dishes with her home-grown vegetables, fresh eggs and chicken meat, making sure May Phu Khaing ate protein at least two days per week. In telling us this, she said with a proud smile, “I am happy to see my daughter enjoy eating every day. She has not had a cold or diarrhea in many months, and her weight and height have increased a lot.” She added, “My daughter’s progress has motivated me even more to take good care of her with healthy meals and better hygiene, especially hand-washing before meals and after toileting. We are grateful to CWS and their supporters not only for material aid but also the chance to gain knowledge, which has helped me change my awareness, attitudes and action for my child’s development. I will continue to pass on my knowledge and experiences to others because I want every child to grow up healthy like my daughter is now.”