Monday, April 18, 2011

'Mothers' Gardens" in Bangladesh

A "Mother's Garden" meeting in Chuadanga, Bangladesh sponsored by IMPACT Foundation
With the success of Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDaunn's Half the Sky, it is clear that by giving poor women the tools to help their families through micro-loans, education and other means, not only does the health of children improve, but the status of women in relation to men can be raised.

The IMPACT Foundation has a mission to help children with disabilities. This includes not only surgery to correct crooked limbs, fix cataracts and cleft lip and palates, but educational programs for mothers and midwives to lower incidences of infant and maternal mortality and birth defects. In Chuadanga, IMPACT Foundation has also enabled 4500 families to improve their everyday nutrition. Over the last 10 years they have distributed seeds, education and tools to women who plant "Mothers' Gardens." They grow brightly colored, leafy vegetables high in folic acid and other vitamins that help pregnant women deliver healthier babies. In addition, the organization holds meetings to teach women basic information on nutrition. They also provide safety information and provide barriers that can be placed around open cooking fires so that children will not accidentally get burned while their mothers cook.

Not only has the health of the children improved since the implementation of the gardens, but these women are able to sell their surplus products giving their families added income. These women provide nutrition for their families, gain self esteem for themselves and, through their financial efforts, also become more respected by their husbands. These photos were taken on a visit to IMPACT whose efforts also include the Jibon Tari floating hospital.

A mother from Chuadanga in her garden

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