‘In this term, we’ve saved 9,974 baht in the Breakfast for Kids Fund, all of which will be used to support breakfast for children’, Mr Chaiyong Kaenkaeo, a caregiver of Ban Sueang Khao Child Care Centre, Sirattana district, Sisaket province, described efforts to promote good early childhood nutrition.
Since 2015, World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT)’s Child Sponsorship Programme has carried out development work for the well-being of children, families, and communities in Sirattana district. Not only children and families but also local child care centres and schools have been assisted to develop readiness to appropriately build learning roots for kids in early childhood and other stages alike. At Ban Sueang Khao Child Care Centre, the Breakfast for Kids Project has been supported to solve malnutrition amongst preschoolers.
‘The majority of local children are undernourished; stunting and wasting, part of which is contributed by inappropriate child feeding behaviours of poor parents and families’, said Mr Chaiyong. ‘Malnutrition has negatively impacted their learning ability. They can neither focus in class nor pay attention to what is taught. Because of the poor preparation during early childhood, when these kids move forwards to kindergarten or primary school, their literacy ability is compromised as a consequence’.
‘The Breakfast for Kids Project has improved children’s nutritional status and abilities to learn. When parents witnessed these positive changes in their children, they cooperated better with the child care centre’, Mr Chaiyong explained the transformation of the children.
Along with the budget to support breakfast for kids at the child care centre, the Breakfast for Kids Project has provided knowledge in early childhood diet management to parents, caregivers, and everyone in the community, in order to make them see the importance of a joint effort in promoting age-appropriate health and nutrition of children. Once the early childhood malnutrition is solved and all relevant sectors are aware of proper child care and equipped with the correct knowledge, the Breakfast for Kids Project will phase out to move on to help other areas with prevailing problems in child nutrition.
Because Ban Sueang Khao Child Care Centre has realised the benefits of having children fed with nutrient-rich breakfast, Ban Sueang Khao Child Care Centre Committee and parents have agreed to collaboratively continue the Breakfast for Kids Project on their own after the project transition.
Some parents whose kids are in the Child Sponsorship Programme, which supports families to raise hens and fish and grow mushrooms and vegetables to promote household security food sources, have contributed their surplus produce as raw resources to cook breakfast for children at the child care centre. The others have volunteered to help prepare food as indicated by the caregivers who set nutritious menu for the kids each day.
Mr Chaiyong went on, ‘In the past, the villagers barely had any food to eat within the family. It is incredible how World Vision started their work and supported villagers to raise chickens and fish, ensuring they have food sources free of cost at home, more than enough to share with other children at the child care centre. I’m so glad to see the villagers living well. Besides relying on these resources provided, we’ve also established the Breakfast for Kids Fund. The villagers, even the children, are encouraged to make contributions (one baht per day) to raise fund; we don’t ask for more to ensure this won’t trouble the parents. Those who are able to are encouraged to do so while those who can’t are not pressured to donate. All of the money will be used for breakfast preparation of the children.
This cooperation and united effort have greatly yielded positive impacts to the preschoolers as the children at Ban Sueang Khao Child Care Centre have developed growth up to the standard. ‘We’re so thankful for everything WVFT has done. All of the activities are really practical and beneficial to children’, said Mr Chaiyong.