Tag Archive: Be courageous. Be bold.

Killing worms, gaining weight

Story by Phoebe Naw, photo by Khaing Min Htoo | July 10, 2015

Hnin started out as a happy, healthy baby in Myanmar.

Her mother, 36-year-old Chaw Yupar, exclusively breastfed Hnin for months after she was born.

“When my daughter turned 6 months, I went out to work and left her at home with her elder siblings,” Chaw says. “They fed her snacks that were available from the local shop. I fed her my breast milk when I returned home in the evening.”

But when Hnin turned 2, she became very sick.

Worms leech nutrients out of tiny bodies

“She suffered from frequent bouts of diarrhea,” Chaw says. “I tried to treat her at home with my limited knowledge. She lost her weight as well. I had no idea what happened to her.”

Out of ideas, Chaw talked to a midwife, who told her Hnin had worms. She recommended Chaw take her daughter to the hospital.

“When I reached the clinic in Thabaung, the doctor accused me of delaying to bring my child,” Chaw says. “I didn’t understand at first, but later realized that if I had not brought her in, I would have lost her.

“The doctor gave my daughter medicine and deworming pills. After taking the treatment and pills, she felt better. World Vision supported all the medical costs.”

The medicine saved Hnin’s life, and she recovered.

Mothers learn healthy eating and hygiene habits

Chaw returned to work, again leaving her child with her older siblings. But once again, the siblings fed Hnin cheap food from the local snack shop. The food didn’t have the proper nutrients to support growth, so Hnin’s weight dropped, and she became severely malnourished.

This time, a World Vision intervention program in Chaw’s village helped. The program leaders identified 18 children in the community to participate, including Hnin.

The 12-day program taught mothers how to feed their children affordable, locally available foods to promote healthy child development. They also educated the moms about proper hygiene and health practices.

“At first, my daughter didn’t like the food, and she refused to eat,” Chaw says. “But she finally ate it.”

A new, healthy way of living

At the end of the program, Hnin’s weight had increased by 2.2 pounds to 21.2 pounds. Still, Hnin continued in another round of the program.

“I was surprised to see my daughter’s weight increase to 10.3 kilograms (22.7 pounds) after two sessions,” Chaw says with joy.

Things didn’t just improve for Hnin, but also for Chaw as a result of the program.

“Before, when I return home from the fields, I would immediately hold my daughter and feed her without washing my hands,” Chaw says. “I think my daughter got diarrhea because of this. I learned to wash my hands first before holding my child, as well as before feeding her.

“Now, I do not need to push her to eat. She asks herself. She also eats rice and curry at home. I try to prepare foods based on the ‘3 Food Groups’ chart [received in the program].”

As Chaw welcomes her seventh child into the world, she knows her new baby will not suffer from worms, diarrhea, and malnutrition like Hnin did.

“For this baby, I will practice the hygiene behavior and take care of the baby well so that she or he will not suffer like Hnin,” Chaw says with a smile.

Support children like Hnin, who deserves the opportunity to grow up and live healthily. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

A small amount of money transformed 400 children’s lives and counting

Sophie Hoult, VisionFund International

Eight years ago, Cho Cho and her husband were living separately in order to make ends meet. He was in Malaysia working as a taxi driver; and she lived near Myanmar’s capital doing what she could to survive.

While struggling with her husband’s absence in a community where men have more authority Cho Cho noticed that young children were lacking basic life skills that was affecting them at school later in life.

With a dream and a small amount of money Baby Bright Education Centre was born.

When we arrive at the centre on a hot day in January the nursery children are asleep. Lined up in rows, quiet and still. In the next room, teenagers are dutifully yelling responses at the teacher, as they work towards their enrolment exams.

Not long after we arrive, the rows begin to stir, and small, joyful faces file past, on the way to their lunchboxes. After lining up to have their hair combed, the afternoon begins, and the small sleeping figures transform into a mass of smiles, curious gazes and boundless energy.

Cho Cho smiles at the children and tells me that a year after the school opened, she heard about VisionFund (World Vision’s microfinance institution) through a friend and received her first loan of about NZD$290. With it she proudly purchased supplies for the pre-school, something she has done with a subsequent 10 loans from VisionFund. Baby Bright is so successful her husband moved home from Malaysia and he too now runs his own business thanks to VisionFund. Currently they earn NZD$2,170 a month, more than double their income eight years ago.

As we move through the centre, I realise how it is only the size of a small house. Cho Cho has managed to utilize this space for nearly 400 students, over 100 of which are nursery children. Space is definitely an issue, so Cho Cho tells me she continues to work and save, in the hope of expanding and improving the lives of more children.

She turns to me with her big smile and shares her dreams of opening a private school, and continuing to combine her business nous with her calling to serve and empower children. As the economy in Myanmar continues opening itself up to the world, women like Cho Cho will be at the centre of preparing children for the global world, and giving the next generation the best possible start.

Support people like Cho Cho, who shares the same belief as us that children deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by donating to our Giving with Vision fund.

From Youth Leader to a Promising Assistant District Officer

© 2016 World Vision Foundation of Thailand | 29 March 2017

“I had ideas but didn’t have the courage to express them,” reflected Asanai Poonsawad (Kung) on his past. He was one of the 60 people to receive the 2016 Model Youth Developer with Ethics and Morality pin from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as part of the Youth Developer project. Recalling the turning point in his life which brought him to where he is today, Kung said, “I participated in activities organised by World Vision (WV), which encourage youths to express themselves. It made me more outspoken.”

Kung is the son of a farmer in Chaloem Phra Kiat district, Nakhon Si Thammarat province where WV’s Sa Plaeng project works to improve the well-being of the local people. It was how Kung became Sa Plaeng project’s sponsored child back in grade 2. Throughout his primary school years, he received school uniforms, socks, shoes, books and other supplies that equipped him for schooling and lightened his family’s expenses. As he advanced to higher education levels, he joined the skill development camps. They served as the key that unlocked his hidden potential.

Kung shared, “The camp activities gave me the courage to start expressing myself. After attending the camps several times, I grew more outspoken until a WV staff let me become a mentor at the camp. Later I participated in activities that enhanced youth’s leadership capacity …(organised jointly by Sa Pleang project and state agencies).”

Receiving continued support not only enhanced Kung’s leadership, but also gave him the foresight to dream of studying up to university level.

Nevertheless, life is full of uncertainties. Kung’s mother passed away when he was studying in grade 9. The death of a beloved person uprooted his life. “At that moment, I thought there was nothing left for me anymore. I wanted to quit studying.”

At the time, encouragement and warm embraces from the people around Kung helped him regain strength.


“My father told me that he wanted me to be successful and would do everything to support me. WValso contributed a lot. My sponsor who sponsored me on behalf of his family wrote letters, encouraging me to study hard for my own future and family,” Kung said.

As such, Kung persevered to achieve his dream as well as joined youth leadership activities. Eventually he was selected to be the class president for Chaloem Phra Kiat Somdet Phra Srinakarin School in Nakhon Si Thammarat province when he was in grade 11.

Kung is currently pursuing his second year at Rajabhat University in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, studying Bachelor of Local Administration under the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. He is simultaneously performing his duty as a youth leader without fail.

“I’ve just partnered with WV in organising youth volunteer travelling activity. I brought youth leader volunteers from 5 schools in Chaloem Phra Kiat district to build fences at Ban Nam Sap School in Pak Phanang district. I was also the facilitator at WV’s youth leadership capacity building camp. Right now I’m also a member of the province’s children and youth council,” Kung articulated with pride, his wide smile revealing his white teeth. He added, “Doing this work gave me opportunities to work with the community and other people, which I think is very fulfilling.”

And this is what inspired Kung to write his own future as he aims to become Chaloem Phra Kiat district’s assistant officer after he completes his education.

“I want to develop my own hometown, improve the administrative system, education, sports and public health. I also want to promote the morality and ethics of the community people,” Kung said.

WV believes that over the next few years, Chaloem Phra Kiat district will celebrate the arrival of a skillful district assistant officer by the name of ‘Asanai Poonsawad’.

Support those like Kung, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

Former sponsored child passes the torch of learning

In Cambodia, Phally Pheng’s passion to teach began with her sponsor’s encouragement

Michael Czobit | February 2015

PHALLY PHENG LIKES GETTING kids’ hands up in the air. A former sponsored child who now teaches in northeast Cambodia, she works hard to teach in ways that engage her students. She wants her students to participate — for their hands to spring up in excitement when she asks a question.

One morning, the 21-year-old teacher calls a boy to the blackboard. He doesn’t hesitate to pick up the chalk. This boy, like all the children in her classroom, is sponsored. Phally knows education can change their lives — just as education changed hers.

Phally’s only dream as a child was to become a teacher. “I told my sponsor this, and she encouraged me to study hard,” she says. If the boy working diligently at the blackboard follows his teacher’s example of adding determination to sponsorship, his dream could also come true.

Sponsorship sends Phally to school

Phally remembers well the days before World Vision and child sponsorship arrived. Her parents were farmers, but they didn’t earn enough to support her and her younger sister and brother. Phally’s parents had to borrow money from her aunt to pay school fees.

But then, when she turned 9, someone began to sponsor her through World Vision, and Phally was able to go to school. She initially attended classes held outdoors because her community didn’t have a building for the children to learn in. Phally says, “We weren’t encouraged without a building.”

But as World Vision’s work in Samlot continued, the community changed in many ways. “There was a lot of development,” says Phally. “World Vision built a well, roads, and school buildings.” Phally adds that the well, in particular, made life easier. “We used to fetch water as far as eight kilometers (nearly five miles) away. But after we had the well, it was easy for us to get water.”

Ready access to water is helping more children go to school instead of carrying water throughout the day. As a result, all children in Phally’s community are now enrolled in primary school, and 60 percent of younger children attend preschool.

Because of her own experience in school, Phally chose to become a teacher.
(Photo: ©2014 Paul Bettings/World Vision)

Nurturing the seeds of learning

As Phally progressed from grade to grade, she saw the need for more teachers to plant the seeds of learning in young minds like hers. She began to think that perhaps she too could be a teacher one day. “When I was growing up, we didn’t have enough teachers,” she says. “I found this didn’t encourage us to go to school. I wanted to help my community.”

Along with benefiting from the work that World Vision did in her community, Phally also enjoyed an ongoing relationship with her sponsor, who sent her letters twice a year. “She would ask about my family and my schooling,” Phally says. “She wanted to know how I was doing.” Phally would write back and tell her sponsor about her life and successes. In one letter, she shared about her dream of becoming a teacher.

“Faith is very important to people. People need God. I believe it will shape people to do good things.” — Phally Pheng, Former Sponsored Child

Her sponsor encouraged her to pursue that dream, a message Phally took to heart. After she finished high school, Phally went to college. Her Christian faith also motivated her to keep striving. “Faith is very important to people,” she says. “People need God. I believe it will shape people to do good things.”

For the past four years Phally has taught a number of grades and a variety of subjects. Her favorite subject is literacy because, she says, “I love reading.”

In class, she proudly wears a traditional Cambodian dress, but her pride in her students is even more evident. “Through sponsorship, children have a chance to gain knowledge,” she says. “They receive what they need.” Phally is proof of this — through sponsorship, she received what she needed to realize her dream.

Support those like Phally, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .

Thailand: ‘I dreamed of being a teacher’

Somluck Khamsaen, World Vision communications officer, Thailand | May 8, 2013

Sangla Nantheppong, a former World Vision sponsored child, is happy with her teaching success in Thailand.

Chattering and disorderly like a bunch of sparrows, third-grade students at Manit Wittaya School in Chiang Rai excitedly await the arrival of their new English teacher.

As the sound of footsteps grows louder, the class falls silent.

“Is this third grade?” the teacher asks, walking into the classroom.

Students in the front rows nod. All eyes are on the teacher as she puts her books on the teacher’s table.

It seems to the students that the new teacher is younger than all the female teachers in the school. Her big eyes are gentle and friendly. She smiles.

Like the other teachers, she wears a scout uniform, khaki skirt, and shirt with a pink and blue scarf.

“Good afternoon. I’m here to be your new English teacher,” she says. “My name is Sangla Nantheppong. You can call me Teacher La.”

Sangla turns around, picks up a piece of chalk, and writes her name on the blackboard.

Improving lives and livelihoods

Since she was the age of her students, Sangla dreamed that someday she would be a teacher.

Sangla always loved going to school as a child, but she worried that she might have to quit early, like her older sister who left school after sixth grade. Sangla’s anxiety even caused bad dreams.

Her father and mother, Sukam and Chansuay, worked as farm laborers, earning only about 120 baht, about $4 per day. It was not enough to support a family. Sangla’s parents argued about money and debts; her father was often out of work.

When she was in primary school, Sangla joined World Vision’s sponsorship program. She received school uniforms, shoes, and school supplies that helped her stay in school.

Sponsorship funding also made it possible for her parents and other community members to take part in agriculture training. Their livelihoods improved when they began raising chickens, and Sangla was able to remain in school.

“Having an education is very important. It enhances our skills and provides us with opportunities. SANGLA NANTHEPPONG

Teacher hopes to instill love of learning

From her early school days, Sangla studied hard and earned good grades. Letters from her World Vision sponsor sparked her interest in English.

She promised herself that one day she would write a letter in English all by herself.

Years later, her dream of becoming a teacher has been fulfilled — and she hopes to inspire her 185 third-grade students to learn English and pursue education.

Says Sangla: “Having an education is very important. It enhances our skills and provides us with opportunities.”

Somluck Khamsaen is a World Vision communications officer in Thailand.

Support children like Trang, who deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by Sponsoring A Child .