A Focus on Early Nutrition For Refugees in Thailand

CWS Thailand | November 8, 2020

    Naw Paw Lue Lu and her daughter. Photo: CWS

    Naw Paw Lue Lu and her husband are raising two children in Umpiem Mai camp in Thailand, which is home to refugee families from Myanmar. Their son is 6 years old, and their daughter is 18 months old. Naw Paw Lue Lu hasn’t had access to information or parenting classes, so she mostly followed the example of her older relatives and neighbors. Unfortunately, that meant that her son didn’t have a nutritious diet. She didn’t know about exclusive breastfeeding, when to start supplementing her breastfeeding or how to diversify his diet. As a result, she only fed her son rice, oil and salt.

    During her pregnancy with her daughter, Naw Paw Lue Lu learned more from the health and nutrition staff in the camp. She got the information she need to develop healthy habits during her pregnancy. She understood how to keep herself and her baby healthy. When her daughter was born, Naw Paw Lue Lu knew the benefits of breastfeeding her exclusively for the first six months, and how breastfeeding benefits both moms and babies. Then when her daughter was six months old, Naw Paw Lue Lu joined the “Healthy Babies, Bright Futures” program. It’s implemented by The Border Consortium with support from CWS.

    In addition to continued nutrition education support, Naw Paw Lue Lu began to attend cooking demonstrations. She learned about BabyBRIGHT, which is a complementary baby food. She saw how to cook with it and understood its benefits.

    Naw Paw Lue Lu recalls worrying about her daughter in her first few months, wondering if her little one was growing as much as other children the same age. But as she began to implement more and more of what she was learning in the infant and young child feeding program, her worries eased. She could see her daughter growing well. She could clearly see the difference between her two children as infants. This was due, in part, to adding BabyBRIGHT to their routine. It’s also, she admits, because she was able to spend more time with her new baby (she had been a teacher when her son was very young).

    Naw Paw Lue Lu says that she better understands how to feed both her children a nutritious and diverse diet. She spends time creating new menus for her daughter that include BabyBRIGHT and vegetables from her garden. And she sees how having the nutrition program is helpful for her whole community, especially families with young children.

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