From Student to Teacher: One Nepali Woman Fights Malnutrition in Her Community

From Student to Teacher: One Nepali Woman Fights Malnutrition in Her Community


Dang, Nepal During pregnancy, women often do not receive
the information that they need. In Nepal, over 35 percent of children under 5
are malnourished. The community and the mothers here… I talk a lot, so they tell me… I attend mothers’ group meetings regularly. I never miss them. They say, “You understand a lot, and can
teach the community.” My name is Bimala Chaudhary. I am 25 years old. I have one daughter, Sudikchya. She is 10 months old. From the mothers’ group meetings, [I learn
about] cleanliness, and about how you have to wash your hands before feeding the baby,
how to prepare nutritious rice porridge, what time you need to feed the baby. I teach those mothers who don’t understand. [Music] The female community health volunteer has
taught me how to position the baby while breastfeeding, and if the baby is too small, then she taught
us techniques for proper latching. I breastfed my daughter for the first six
months — I didn’t even feed her water — because with breastmilk there’s no need
to feed the baby water for the first 6 months. I am still breastfeeding her, but I also give
her other foods like super-flour porridge, bananas and eggs. In five years, USAID increased the rate of
exclusive breastfeeding in supported communities in Nepal from 46 percent to 71 percent. Usually we listen to the “Mother Knows Best”
radio program together. My mother-in-law, my husband and even my sister-in-law
also listen to it and like it. From the radio program, I learned that we
shouldn’t carry heavy loads during pregnancy, and that we should eat nutritious food. From the SMS [messages], I learned that I
need to take my daughter for weighing every month. [My husband] helps in the kitchen. He’ll look after the food so that I can
breastfeed the baby. My wish is that my daughter studies and becomes a nurse. As she is growing up healthy, her brain is
also developing well. She can serve the community and she can also
teach others what I taught her. I think she will fulfill my dream. We can save a lot of children from malnutrition. This past year, USAID helped the Government of Nepal budget and invest an additional $3.5 million to address malnutrition.

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2 thoughts on “From Student to Teacher: One Nepali Woman Fights Malnutrition in Her Community”

  • People are starting to realize the importance of nutrition and are bringing changes in their behavior. So happy to have been a part of this incredible movement.