Four-year-old Rani was once underweight and malnourished. Now she’s a healthy girl with a hearty appetite, especially for the vegetables her mom grows and cooks.
She may be only 4 years old, but Rani knows what she likes and doesn't like. The Indonesian child likes healthy food, and if there are no vegetables on her plate, she’s not eating.
Two years ago, Rani ate only porridge made from rice and water with a pinch of salt. She ate the same thing three times every day. At just 18 pounds, Rani was malnourished and often sick.
Rani’s mother, Kristina, 28, says she couldn’t afford to feed her two children a better diet. Rani’s father, Lodoficus, 38, is a corn farmer who depends on a good harvest from a short rainy season. For nine months of the year, the barren, rocky land is dry. If the family's crop falters, there is not enough money for food.
In 2013, World Vision began assisting the village where Rani and her family live.
At the time, 19.6 percent of Indonesian children suffered from malnutrition. Where Rani lives, the number was closer to 30 percent.
World Vision staff identified 10 children in South Oenenu as malnourished, including Rani. To ensure their recovery, the children received vitamins for 10 days. Rani’s parents learned how to make nutritious food with simple, local ingredients. They soon discovered that everything they needed for a good diet was inexpensive and readily available.
Little Rani enjoyed vegetables and eggs, which she had never tasted before. Within 10 days, her weight started to increase.
Kristina and Lodoficus were so encouraged by Rani’s progress that they vowed to increase their efforts so that their daughter would continue to improve. They made sure Rani visited the health center regularly so staff could check her progress and give her vitamins.
Parents who learned how to prepare healthy food also learned how to grow healthy produce. Using a farming technique called “double digging,” they converted wasteland into productive gardens.
Garden vegetables now seem to grow in every yard in South Oenenu. So far in 2015, not one of the children in the village shows signs of malnutrition.
Photo©2015 Rena Tanjung/World Vision