“ADRA has helped me to become a better father. I used to believe that as long as I was working hard and providing food for my children that I was doing my part. ADRA has taught me that even if I am very busy, I need to make the time to spend with my children. We have learned that we should never wait for things to become very bad before we give our attention. As parents, we should be so aware of our children’s development that we are guiding and encouraging them every step of the way so that they never develop extremely negative behaviours. I have fully adopted this into my life and am determined to be a good father and parent.
I am also following ADRA’s advice on what I can do to be a better husband. I am much more attentive to the needs of my wife now. I am more caring. As she recovers from the birth of our third child, I am doing a lot of the housework. I am washing the clothes so she can rest.
I am cooking the meals. I do a lot of the cooking for the family and I have changed the way I cook to make it healthier for my children. We are incorporating a lot more greens and vegetables and really cutting back or eliminating artificial flavourings such as MSG.
ADRA taught us about gender roles and how husband and wife can share the household chores and taking care of the children. I am doing this, and I have realized that ADRA is right. Our marriage is much better now. We have more open communication. When we have conflicts, we now talk it through and resolve it. I believe open communication is important.
I am not one for saying all the sweet things because I find that kind of corny. But who knows? One day I might give that a try. For now, I am concentrating on showing my wife by my actions and help around the house that I care.
I am not one to just hang out with the guys in the village. I want every day to have purpose, meaning, and accomplishment. When I am not working, I spend time with my family and playing with my children.
We have made many changes in our family as a result of the EMBRACE trainings. We learned a lot about what we should do to have a healthy pregnancy. The recommendations for good nutrition for the mother while she was pregnant sounded like good advice to me and so we made sure that she had a good, balanced diet of nutritious food during that time. We quit all junk food and processed foods, even stopped drinking coffee as it would not be good for the baby. We followed all of the recommendations for check-ups, immunizations, and supplements.
Now, we breastfeed exclusively. Before, according to the tradition of our village, we would never bring a newborn baby outside into the morning air and sunshine. But because of ADRA, we are doing that. New mothers also traditionally stayed inside a dark room after the baby was born. ADRA taught us that it is healthy to go out and get fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. We followed that advice and it was good for my wife! Other women in the village have noticed that we did that and how it helped my wife recover.
Because our village is isolated, and many of the people who live here are poor, ADRA came up with a way that would help pregnant women get into the nearest clinic for check-ups as well as emergency transport to the hospital if needed. It is called the COMBAT system. It stands for Community Based Transport System for pregnant women. Individuals from our village were selected to be COMBAT officers and they were given special training on how to handle and care for pregnant women during transport. There was training on basic first aid and life support. I am very happy for this. Sometimes the sea can be rough, and it can be a difficult journey for a woman who is full-term as she makes her way to the hospital.
ADRA has started a very innovative Savings and Loans group. We have no bank here in our village. With the Bulsa group that ADRA has started, we now feel as though we have a mini bank here in our village. If we have a need or an emergency, or we want a little start-up cash for a small business idea that we can run from our home, we can easily apply for a loan. In our group we have set a service charge of 5% per month for those who take a loan. This is high, but as members of the group, we also get direct benefit from the service fees in the pay-out every six months. So in many ways, it works out very good for everything to have this ADRA Savings and Loans group in our village.”
Sustainable Development Goal 3
Sustainable Development Goal 3, regarding “Good Health and Well-being”, is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015. The official wording is: “To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.”
About the EMBRACE Project
The Enhance Mother/newborn/child health in Remote Areas thru health Care & community Engagement (EMBRACE) project is a four-year, comprehensive development initiative with the goal of reducing maternal and child mortality in Cambodia, Burma (Myanmar), the Philippines, and Rwanda. Over $20 million was contributed by the Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada. The remaining $5 million was contributed by ADRA Canada and its partners.
Focusing primarily on women of reproductive age, newborn and children under five, the program directly assisted over 100,000 people, including 33,000 children. Many of the women, men and children who benefitted from this program were from vulnerable people groups such as ethnic minorities and those returning to their homes after natural disasters or civil conflict.