Bun Ratha, 28, lives with her husband, Horm Chanthorn, 25, and their 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter in Rung Chrey village in western Cambodia. They are farmers living on her mother’s land and raising ducks for a living. But their income is quite low and they have high interest loan payments due from buying the ducks. Also, the children were always ill, and so the family was connected – through strong community networks that CWS has helped develop – to a local CWS partner, Rural Development Association for help.
The first thing Ratha told us when we visited with her recently is that she knows that both of her children are underweight and likely malnourished, which is why they are always sick. When we spoke, she said, when given the chance, “I joined some information sessions that CWS supports; and I have learned a lot about nutrition.” Being reminded, along with other mothers, that good nutrition helps keep children healthy was a first step for Ratha in taking a positive step forward for her two toddlers. In talking about the information-sharing, Ratha noted, “Since my daughter was severely underweight, the CWS program supported me to take her to the local government health center for immediate treatment, which helped her a lot.”
Now Ratha brings both her children to CWS-sponsored supplemental feeding groups where young children eat nutrition-rich, multi-ingredient porridge that mothers learn to make from local ingredients. So, change is not expensive and can be made at home. Happily, Ratha also told us, “Both children, but especially my daughter, have gained weight and are growing healthier and they rarely get sick as they did before.” And, she continues, “I am happy that we don’t need to spend money for drugs and other treatments, or time worrying and caring for sick children. Now I have more time to focus on work and helping Chanthorn raise our ducks so we can pay off our loan and make a better life. I am so grateful for the support”.
Knowing that it is likely Ratha and Chanthorn may need more support to get their lives and livelihoods on a more positive path, CWS is ready, alongside trusted local partners, to welcome the couple to other activities that can help them live lives of dignity and worth. When we met them, they were quite hopeless and a bit stuck in a bad situation; now, with a little help, they are more hopeful, and CWS is proud to be there to accompany them further on their journey if they want.
(For more information please contact MSophal@cwsglobal.org )