Samaritan's Purse's prenatal and maternal care program in Cambodia helps children receive proper nutrition.
December, 2014—Duong Seng, a mother of two young children in rural Cambodia, is busy gathering wood for cooking. Duong has already cut some vegetables, boiled some eggs, pumpkin, and fish. All ingredients are ready and well-covered to protect from flies.
She has no room for a separate kitchen, but Duong manages to do everything inside her small wooden house. She also washes her hands thoroughly several times during the food preparation. Another woman arrives to help watch her daughter Sreynin while Duong is preparing food.
This is a new routine. A few months ago, Duong was busy taking Sreynin to hospitals and clinics because she was not well.
“My daughter couldn’t walk like other children of her age. She was very weak and often sick,” Duong recalled. “I thought that she might have some kind of a disease. I have spent a lot of money taking her to clinics and hospitals. I did not know my daughter was suffering from malnutrition until Samaritan’s Purse staff came and checked her.”
Duong prepares enriched porridge like an expert after learning this new technique from the Samaritan’s Purse cooking trainings. Our maternal and child health program in Cambodia’s Kratie province helps reduce the mortality rates of women and their children through things like teaching essential nutrition practices, improving obstetric care and increasing access to quality health care.
Duong enjoys following all the steps she has learned, including good hand-washing practices.
“When I realized that my child is weak because I didn’t know how to feed her, I felt ashamed. But I enjoyed learning how to cook the right food. In fact, I really enjoy it,” she said.
As rice boils, Duong adds various ingredients at different stages of preparing the enriched porridge. She also makes sure that everything is finely chopped so that the consistency of the food is just right for her child.
Sreynin comes running to her mother, not only because she can now walk, but also because she loves the taste of the new food her mom makes for her.
Neighborhood women with small children often come to listen and learn from Duong. She has already taught about 10 women how to prepare nutritious meals for their families.
“I like to share my experience with other women in the neighborhood. More than anything else, I’m happy that my child is better.”
Without timely intervention, Sreynin could have become a developmentally challenged child. Her life has changed as a result of the cooking trainings from Samaritan’s Purse, and the changes are spreading through the community.