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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

StarKids donations are helping communities put an end to child malnutrition. Here, Margaret Spencer shares one mother’s story.

High in the lush green mountains of north-east Vietnam, the sound of a toddler’s laughter fills the air. Two-year-old Nhat Anh  is excitedly chasing chickens in his family’s yard. Not long ago, his mother, Thao, wondered if she would ever  see her son playing with such energy. Nhat Anh had been weak, constantly sick and showing signs of malnutrition. “My only wish back then was to see him healthy,” Thao explains. “I’m happy that he can now enjoy little things like this.”

In the remote and mountainous Luc Yen district, close to half  of all children under five are malnourished. A combination of factors contribute to this alarming reality, including poor hygiene and limited knowledge within the community about child health  and nutrition. In addition, many families lack the financial means  to provide their children with a healthy and balanced diet. With support from StarKids, World Vision is working with mothers and communities around the world to empower them with the  skills and knowledge needed to turn the tide on child malnutrition. At local Vietnamese nutrition clubs, women like Thao learn from the mothers of healthy children about ways to prepare nutritious meals. There are cooking demonstrations where recipes are shared.

At the same time, Thao has started growing vegetables and raising chickens, selling them to increase her income and support her young family. Now, one year after joining the nutrition club,  her son Nhat Anh is full of life and at a healthy weight for his age. “When a mother is equipped with knowledge and skills to provide nutritious meals, other mothers will follow her example and the children will benefit,” says local health worker Thi Hoàng.