Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes
Educating The Mothers
During the entire time the child is at NRH, the mother is taught how to maintain the health of her child. For example, our nutritionist gives training not only in what to feed children, but how to prepare food to retain its nutritional value. These precepts are demonstrated in our vegetable garden and our teaching kitchen. Nepali mothers usually do not feed vegetables to their young children. At the NRH, they are taught by the cooks and the nutritionist how to prepare vegetables in the most nutritious way. And they are encouraged to start growing vegetables when they return home. Everything used to feed the children is available in the villages of Nepal so that the mothers can continue the program once their children are discharged. The child is weighed every day, and the mother is kept informed of the child’s progress.
The mothers also are taught about hygiene, family planning, how to recognize symptoms of serious illness in their children, and how to prepare “jevanjel,” rehydration fluid from locally available substances. While we have the mother and child in our home, we resolve any other health problems they may have and ensure that the child has had all necessary vaccinations. The condition of the mothers is sometimes almost as serious that of their children. We restore the health of the mothers as well – they gain an average of 12 pounds during their stay at the NRH.
An unexpected consequence of the stay at the NRH is that it gives the mothers a chance to spend time alone with one child. Most mothers in Nepal have never had such an opportunity – they must resume their life of back-breaking labor shortly after the birth of their children. At the NRH, they have a chance to experience the delights of motherhood in a relaxed environment, a luxury few mothers in Nepal are afforded. Notice the change in the mothers in some of these “before” and “after” photos on this page.
Over the years we have worked out many challenges, such as formulating the most effective means to train young and often illiterate mothers to care for their children. But the mothers love their children and are eager to learn. View pictures of some of the extraordinary changes in the health and spirit of these children in a few short weeks.