My name is Yuxuan Su and I recently intern at ICM for around two months. Over this period of time, I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the most dedicated, motivated and fun people I have ever met.
One morning, I set out with a group of ICM trainers in our signature blue pickup truck, joining them for a three-hour journey to one of the remote communities that ICM serves.
Our destination, Manjuyod, cannot be reached by a main road, so we left the pickup and transferred to Habal-Habals – motorbikes – for the remainder of our trip. Upon arrival, the community pastor warmly welcomed me, introducing the Transform program participants. It was heartwarming and, despite their living conditions and obvious struggles, they were pleased to meet me.
After the health lesson on correct feeding for babies, the trainers distributed bars of soap (to help improve sanitation, also meaning protection from sicknesses such as diarrhea). Witnessing people’s joy at seeing the soaps, and the broad smiles that grew on their faces as they received them, reminded me to not take these seemingly simple items for granted.
The livelihood lesson was a demonstration on making banana chips, which are cheap and easy to produce. One of the participants shared with me her excitement in her new business – selling banana chips in her small store.
What impacted me most was watching five malnourished children from the community participate in ICM’s Home-Based Feeding (HBF) program. The children each took turns stepping on to the scales as I recorded their weight, before running back out to play with everyone else. The youngest was three-years-old.
Despite their circumstances, these children were as happy, if not happier than I was as a child, and able to enjoy the simplest pleasures of childhood. It was wonderful to realise that the HBF program will help more children grow up to be strong and healthy, benefiting the whole community.
In 2014-15, ICM offered HBF feeding programs to 1,127 malnourished children. Our long-term results indicate that two years after program completion, almost all children who complete the program maintain or improve their weight.
By Yuxuan Su, ICM Intern