It used to be too easy for new mothers in Vietnam to be overwhelemed by problems and questions. They had few places to get information. Before World Vision began working in the area, malnutrition affected one third of the children and diarrhoea was common.
In 1999, World Vision began working in Phu Cu, 80 km from Hanoi. Mothers like Hai struggled to feed their children. “My two first daughters were lazy to eat when they were small. They were often ill or suffered from diarrhoea and bronchitis,” remembers Hai.
She thought about changing her family’s diet to include more protein and vegetables, but according to Hai, “Older people in my hamlet told me the children were too small to have such dishes.”
After giving birth to her third daughter, Hai got involved with World Vision’s Area Development Program. “I was taught how to take care of my child, to cook her a nutritious meal and to keep my personal hygiene at the courses. When I brought up my first two children, I didn’t have such knowledge,” she says.
And Hai’s third child is benefiting from the training. “She eats well so she rarely gets sick and never has to go to hospital. Unlike her two sisters, I prepare her meals with a variety of food. I raise her with the knowledge that I have gained from training courses on childcare.”
Hai’s story represents a change in Phu Cu. By 2008, malnutrition had fallen to less than a fifth of the population, and diarrhoea was rare.
But for Hai the program is about continuing education. “Most of the women were either shy or reluctant when they first participated in maternal and childcare training courses,” Hai says. “Now… they always ask me when World Vision will open another course on the topic after the first one has finished.”
Through training programs, World Vision has directly and indirectly educated more 58,000 people in Phu Cu about early-years nutrition, but there is still more to be done in Vietnam and around the world.
Learn more about World Vision’s work to improve the lives of families around the world through our Child Health Now campaign.