Happy Global Day of Parents!
“I’m a proud mother now,” says Santona, a mother in Bangladesh.
Read how nutrition education programs for parents help keep their children celebrating healthy birthdays each year!
It’s a typical scene, so commonplace and cliché that it’s instantly recognizable: family and friends bring best wishes, cards, and gifts before everyone tucks into an impossible-to-resist cake stabbed with candles that burn brightly, but briefly.
It was Lipy’s 13th birthday and the glowing candles on her cake represented not simply her age, but also the hope that education in healthy eating can defeat malnutrition—although not too much sugar-laden birthday cake would be advisable.
Lipy, who lives near the border with India in Bangladesh’s northwestern region, is one of thousands to benefit from World Vision’s health and nutrition project—a component of our child sponsorship program in Bangladesh.
After her daughter joined the sponsorship program, Lipy’s mother Santona had the opportunity to attend a series of educational meetings to highlight key health and nutritional issues. Santona also signed up for a World Vision-supported development group organized by local residents to fight poverty.
Her mother, who lives with her family in a village named Bagzana, credits her nutrition counseling for boosting the weight of her three previously undernourished children, who range in age from 6 to 14 years old.
In Bangladesh, women are usually the primary caregivers for children, but are often powerless to decide how to use the household budget.
But thanks to her new-found knowledge of child care and women’s rights, learned through World Vision’s community health programs, Santona now plays a full role in the family’s financial decision-making, especially on what food they choose to grow and buy.
“Now I know it’s important, I give my kids green and yellow leafy vegetables and fruit, which are cheap and available locally or that we grow next to our house,” she says.
This is in sharp contrast to Santona’s first tentative steps into motherhood, when she fed her children with the same food she made for the elderly members of her family.
The health and nutrition education program is part of World Vision’s “Grow Hope” campaign that tackles the root causes of poverty, empowering parents to achieve self-sufficiency and better health for their children.
For Santona, the crucial part of World Vision’s concept is that she learned how to help herself. She now feels inspired to share her new knowledge with others in her community.
As such, Santona promotes better feeding practices for infants and children in her village, while her husband helps her provide the right food for their children. Today, Lipy and her siblings enjoy three meals a day and all attend school regularly, a possibility that was once unimaginable.
Santona says: “My children aren’t sick as often as before [the education classes], so we don’t have to spend so much on healthcare and they miss fewer days of school.”
In a country in which malnutrition remains a massive problem, Lipy is a great example of how targeted education can help parents give their children a better chance in life.
“I’m a proud mother now,” Santona says.
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