StarKids and World Vision are helping rural communities in Vietnam fight poverty and malnourishment, one family at a time. By Kervin Mathew.

In the Dien Bien province of north-west Vietnam, Dong Ty’s everyday meals of salt-flavoured rice rarely saw a hint of meat or vegetables.

The youngster’s parents had to spend entire days in the fields working to sustain their small family of three. Because of this, Dong Ty received little attention, was malnourished and frequently fell ill.

Attending a check-up at a World Vision-supported nutrition club in their village, Dong Ty’s parents discovered that his health was at huge risk because of his inadequate diet. It was time to act. They joined the nutrition club and started learning about child health and nutrition.

“My son was very stunted,” says Sung Thi Cam, Dong Ty’s mother. “I learnt from the nutrition club that he needs protein from meat, fish and eggs. With the club’s support, I am now raising chickens and ducks in our garden for meat and eggs.”

Initially, the concepts of proper hygiene and how to look after a sick child were new to Sung Thi Cam but the club facilitators helped her develop an effective health regime for her son.

Through the nutrition club, Dong Ty’s parents were also introduced to other World Vision initiatives focused on improving incomes.

For example, the family were given a goat and were taught how the animals can be bred. Within a year, they had a herd of 16 goats, which they use for meat and milk and also sell – immensely helping the family to improve their financial situation. Dong Ty’s malnutrition has also significantly reduced and he’s growing taller and stronger every day.

With the help of StarKids in partnership with World Vision, many families like Dong Ty’s are finding renewed hope and are on their way to making their struggle a thing of the past.