A Healthy Start
Wenti is exceptional in her village. Despite the odds that had been stacked up against her, she worked her way through school to achieve her dream of becoming a biology teacher. “But even with my degree, I didn’t know how to feed my children properly,” she says. “None of the women here did.”
No matter how many baby books and manuals and classes you might have access to, you can never be fully prepared to raise a baby.
In Indonesia, a nation of islands, mothers in rural regions are particularly isolated. Without having the knowledge of proper infant nutrition, a mother may believe that formula is better than breastfeeding, or unknowingly give her baby rice before their body is capable of digesting it. Additionally, these new mothers have to make these choices alone.
Even Wenti, a 29-year-old biology teacher in the remote district of Sikka, did not know how to properly feed her two babies. “You’d think because I’m a biology teacher I would know about infant nutrition. But that’s not true. I didn’t learn this anywhere. With my first baby, I only knew about packaged food; I didn’t know that breastfeeding was better. And my first baby was malnourished.”
“Most of the group members have a primary school education. I’m one of only two women with a higher degree. But our knowledge of feeding our babies is no different," she says.
“Even beyond learning about breastfeeding and proper nutrition, these Mother Support Groups are extremely powerful support systems when we come together. You see, many women are isolated and too busy to even look after themselves. So this group has not only taught me about nutrition to help my baby grow and develop a healthy brain, but I also now have a group of women that are my friends, and we support each other. We are all the same, and we learn from each other."
“The Mother Support Group has truly been a lifeline for us,” she concludes.
Visit our Health page to learn more about our health project in Indonesia.