May 5 2017

Healing with Nutrition in Nepal

Urmila wants only the best for her child. Living in poverty in the remote Nepalese village of Hariharpur, she was unaware of the basics of good nutrition. She and her child ate just enough to survive, but did not get the nutrients they need to thrive. Consequently, they became malnourished.

“I didn’t know green vegetables are so good for us,” she says. “I used to go to the local market to buy eggs, but they were too expensive, and we mainly ate rice.”

Karuna-Shechen developed its new Malnutrition Program precisely to reach the thousands of mothers and families throughout Nepal and India who, like Urmila, unknowingly suffer from malnutrition.

This multi-faceted program works dynamically to address specific needs:

We found that the best solution, beyond awareness and education, is to help community members to plant kitchen gardens — a simple way to produce nutrient-rich, organic vegetables right in their own backyards. We provide seeds and guidebooks for villagers to follow, and continue to offer support and encouragement as the gardens grow.

Local artists paint murals in public places, and street dramas address social taboos to large, engaged crowds in village streets. Through these creative techniques, mothers and pregnant women in particular receive a raised awareness of the causes and effects of malnutrition, as well as the importance of adequate nutrition.

We collaborate with local community partners to select local representatives (social mobilizers) who are sensitive to the culture and norms of villagers. We identify households that need assistance and the social mobilizers conduct home visits to provide information, discuss challenges, and offer resources to reduce malnutrition.

As a direct result of our programs, Urmila’s lifestyle and health have improved. Our home visits taught her the basics and provided access to proper nutrition, and the solution is one she can easily implement.

“What I learned is important,” she says. “I can grow vegetables in my own place, and it’s free. This completely changed my life.”

Your support of Karuna-Shechen’s Malnutrition Programs will continue to make a difference in the lives of families in Nepal and India.