Ma Khaing is a 39-year-old mother of 5 children and, besides the huge job of being a mother and homemaker, she has an added job selling fish. Ko Ye Tun, who is Ma Khaing’s 36-year-old husband, works as a wage laborer and fisherman. Their children’s ages span 17 years, starting with Yamin Hlaing, who is 19, married and still living with his parents and siblings; Kyaw Min Hlaing is 17 and works as wage laborer in farming; Phyo Min Zaw is just 10 and a Grade 4 student while Phyo Wai is 7 and studying in Grade 1. Finally, Thura Aung is a 2-year-old toddler who, along with the rest of the family, lives on a monthly income of about 120,000 Myanmar Kyat, which is less than $100 and not nearly enough to pay all the family’s expenses, especially the young children’s education, which is a priority – even over nutritious and healthy food.
Sadly, it is not surprising that Thura Aung was found to be malnourished during a recent CWS nutrition project team’s screening in the family’s village. But, the good news is that Ma Khaing, despite being busy and tired from her daily responsibilities, has actively joined in all nutrition education sessions because she wants her son to be grown up healthy. From the start, she was interested to learn about different food group characteristics, and good practices for healthy food preparation. And, when she received a rooster and three hens, and five different kinds of seeds and farm tools for home gardening as part of the CWS-led community resilience project, she got to work expanding her brood and harvest. Now Ma Khaing has 22 chickens, eggs for her family to eat, and a plan to produce more chickens and eggs to sell for profit. Her pumpkins, long beans, watercress, spinach and zucchini are all thriving, so the whole family’s diet is enriched and increased – and Ma Khaing knows how to make sure her meals are prepared and cooked in a healthy way.
Still the family has been quite poor for some and, like other poor families, they have used their neighbor’s latrine because they did not have one of their own. Now, thanks to another CWS initiative – and her own clear initiative, too – Ma Khaing took the chance to have a latrine for the family. First, she joined education sessions: one about general hygiene and sanitation and another about the technical requirements for latrine-building. After these sessions, CWS supported her family with building materials (concrete rings, zinc sheeting and bamboo) and the family contributed labor and other materials for the project. Now, the family has their own latrine and they can use it anytime.
Ma Khaing is happy with her son’s monthly weight gain and consistent growth, with her new attention to healthy daily meals and with the whole family’s better hygiene, which they have learned about from her.
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