Sustaining health, sustaining hope

CJ’s family cramps up in a worn-out house ravaged by Typhoon Odette in 2021. His father, Carmelo, faces immense challenges in providing for their family of six, as his income from fishing is not enough.

With meager resources, CJ’s mother, Bernalyn, did her best to sustain her children’s health. But the lack of money prevented her from buying more nutritious food for the family. She used to feed her kids whatever was available without considering if they were getting essential nutrients. Despite her good intentions, the limited variety and quality of their meals resulted in an inadequate diet for her kids’ growing bodies. Bernalyn never thought that two-year-old CJ was malnourished—the boy has an infectious smile and is playful by nature, after all.

The family’s house has not yet been fully repaired since the onslaught of the typhoon due to the family’s lack of finances.
When Bernalyn joined Transform, one of the benefits she and her family received was health checks. Her youngest, CJ, and two other children underwent health screenings and were identified as malnourished. “I was deeply saddened when I heard that three of my children are malnourished. I felt like I was not doing enough for my children,” Bernalyn shared, guilt evident in her eyes.
CJ’s siblings, Jue and Karyl (CJ, far right)

CJ and his siblings were enrolled in the Home-Based Feeding (HBF) program. Under this 12-week community-based feeding program, the kids’ height and weight were monitored weekly, and they were provided with specialized nutritious food.

Learning that their children were suffering from malnutrition, Bernalyn and Carmelo decided to focus on their kids’ recovery. They planted vegetable seeds from ICM’s garden-in-a-box kit so they could have a supply of fresh food. Applying what she learned about healthy living, Bernalyn realized how important her role as a mother is in monitoring her kids’ health. She said, “Now, I am watching what my children eat, making sure that they eat on time and have nutritious food like vegetables and fish, unlike before when they only ate noodles and other junk foods.”

Bernalyn’s vegetable garden

With the specialized food packs from ICM, the vegetables from their garden, and their parents’ determination to help them overcome malnutrition, CJ and his siblings gained healthy weight and are now thriving. This positive transformation sets them on a path toward a healthier and brighter future!

CJ and Bernalyn, holding a Box of Hope
“I wanted to be self-sustainable when it comes to vegetables so that I can feed my children the nutritious food they need to overcome malnourishment.” – Bernalyn, Transform participant from Palawan

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