Posts in Category: “Asia-Pacific”

Helen Keller International works in 8 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region, preventing blindness, reducing malnutrition, and improving maternal and child health.

Ngo’s Story: Training School Health Workers to Give the Gift of Clear Vision

Photo: c. HKI/USAID

Providing vision screenings for students in Vietnam.  Photo: c. HKI/USAID

“I did not know that both of my kids were suffering from vision problems,” said Ms. Ngo Thi Hoa, a school health worker at the small primary school in Vietnam that her children attend.  Once she noticed that the vision section of the general physical forms provided by her children’s school was left blank, she began to investigate further.   more…

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Categories Asia-Pacific, Preventing Blindness

Education For a Healthy Tomorrow

Neath

Neath reads a leaflet on the prevention of intestinal worms in class. Photo: ©HKI-Cambodia

We often take washing our hands and access to safe drinking water for granted, without realizing how critical these simple resources can be in saving the lives of others. Children in Cambodia rely on clean drinking water and hand washing to protect themselves from intestinal worms, which infect more than 70% of the country’s primary school children. more…

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Categories Asia-Pacific

International Women’s Day

by Ramona Ridolfi

HKI IWD Photo

HKI and WorldFish International Women’s Day event. Photo: c. HKI

Rooted in the centuries-old struggle for gender equality, International Women’s Day celebrates ordinary women as makers of history.

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8th as the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

Since then this special day has integrated a new global dimension: the growing international women’s movement.  This movement has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, and International Women’s Day has evolved to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.

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Categories Asia-Pacific, Reducing Malnutrition, Uncategorized

Continuing Helen Keller’s Legacy in Indonesia

This blog was written by HKI’s Director of Communications after a recent field visit to Indonesia.

Merilya Wanti, a resource teacher in Jakarta, works with two students as part of Helen Keller International's Opportunities for Vulnerable Children program.  Photo: c. HKI

Merilya Wanti, a resource teacher in Jakarta, works with two students as part of Helen Keller International’s Opportunities for Vulnerable Children program.
Photo: c. HKI

Most of us living in the United States take the freedom and ability to attend school for granted.  Over the past 100 years, great strides have been made to ensure that all children, regardless of who they are or where they come from, have access to public education, as well as the opportunity to learn and grow through all that it offers.

However, for many children living with disabilities in other parts of the world this is not the case.  In fact, of the estimated 1.5 million children in Indonesia who live with disabilities, fewer than 4% have access to any educational services.  Historically, Indonesia offered very few options for students with special needs children.  If one of these schools was too far for a small child to commute to every day, that child often stayed home and received no formal education at all.

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Categories Asia-Pacific

1000 Days of Support

Traditional Birth Attendants who received Essential Nutrition Training through HKI. Photo: c. HKI

This blog was written by HKI Bangladesh field intern, Hannah Taylor.

The thousand days between conception and a child’s second birthday is the most crucial period for physical development. During this time, appropriate nutrition for the mother and child, including the right quantity of energy-rich foods and a diverse diet of micronutrients, helps to ensure healthy physical growth and development. However, inadequate nutrition during this stage of a child’s development has severe health consequences lasting into adulthood. Undernourished children face higher risks of blindness, anemia, thyroid diseases, acute and chronic infections and the potential for lifelong stunting. While Bangladesh has seen significant improvement in infant mortality and undernutrition in children in the last two decades, the International Center for Diarrheal Diseases Research, Bangladesh estimates that 41% of children under five years old in Bangladesh remain underweight. more…

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Categories Asia-Pacific

On the Path to Clearer Vision

Imagine that your sight is slowly declining and you have no idea why. That’s what happened to Bibhuti Chakraborthy, a 55 year-old farmer and father of three children who lives in rural Bangladesh.

Bibhuti attending his most recent check-up. Photo: c. HKI

Three years ago, Bibhuti noticed that he could no longer see his fields as clearly as he once did. Tasks that were once simple became more difficult because he had trouble seeing. He didn’t understand what was happening to his vision or why he could no longer see properly and everyday life became a struggle. Desperate for answers,  he visited the nearest hospital where he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy, a condition where damage to the blood vessels in your eye leads to visual impairment.  Bibhuti was not even aware that he had diabetes or that diabetes could be connected to the vision problems he was experiencing.  Unfortunately, Bibhuti’s story is not uncommon: people suffering from Diabetic Retinopathy are often unaware that their vision problems are connected to diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) affects 4.2 million people around the world, most of whom live in developing countries.  With cases of diabetes on the rise worldwide, it is more important than ever that diabetics understand the risks and complications of the disease. HKI trains health workers to screen people for DR to promote early detection. The program also provides treatment and counseling that helps diabetes patients understand the risk factors associated with diabetes. Piloted three years ago in Bangladesh and Indonesia, the program has already provided screenings to 25,000 diabetics and preserved the sight of 4,000 of them.

Bibuthi is seeing much better these days. He completed a sightsaving laser treatment in his right eye and is about to undergo another surgery for his left eye.  Thanks to HKI’s counseling programs and regular visits to his doctor, he now understands the implications of his diabetes.  He tries to walk at least 20 minutes each morning, takes his tea without sugar and tries to balance his diet with more vegetables, cutting out the sugars and fats that worsen his condition. He also receives regular phone calls to remind him of his check-ups and treatments, and Bibuthi is glad to know that HKI is with him each step of the way as he continues on the path toward clearer vision.

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Categories Asia-Pacific, Preventing Blindness

Global Handwashing Day

This blog was written by Hannah Taylor, a field intern at HKI Bangladesh.

A health Worker teaches a young child and his mother proper handwashing methods. Photo: c. HKI

Around the world, from large urban centers to tiny rural villages, from the United States to Bangladesh, in schools, homes, community and health centers, people are celebrating Global Handwashing Day! Regularly washing hands with soap before or after critical daily activities which spread germs, like after using the toilet or before eating, can lead to reduced instances of many illnesses such as Neglected Tropical Diseases, like trachoma, or diarrhea and several respiratory diseases.

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Categories Asia-Pacific

Making it stick

This blog was written by Hannah Taylor, a field intern with HKI Bangladesh.

Gradute school has made me quite aware of when and how the learning process works best. After hours of long lectures in large auditoriums, I relished those one-on-one meetings with a professor to solidify the content and ask all my questions. On a recent visit to HKI’s Project Laser Beam (PLB), I had the opportunity to see the effect that this unique kind of personalized education can have on family health and nutrition.

Jarna and her daughter at their home

Jarna lives in a small home in Kaligonj, Bangladesh with her husband, her parents-in-law, and her two-year-old daughter. Her husband’s income as a local rickshaw-van puller, approximately 150 taka (~$1.90) a day, supports their entire family. Through Mondelēz International Foundation-sponsored Project Laser Beam, Jarna is attending educational sessions to learn about ways she can provide the best nutrition for her family and contribute fresh produce from her garden, part of the Homestead Food Production program, for the household.

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Categories Asia-Pacific

Success Stories from Cambodia

This blog was written by HKI-Cambodia field intern Caitlin Gruer.

Photo c. HKI

A few weeks ago I blogged about my experience going into the field with the HKI Cambodia team to interview participants in our Micronutrient Powder program (read about it here).  During the trip I was able to speak to many inspiring women involved in the program, and I thought that I would take this opportunity to share some of their stories.

The goal of the micronutrient power (MNP) program is to reduce micronutrient deficiencies and malnutrition prevalence, and to help keep children healthy.  It is an in-home fortification program in which mothers receive sachets of MNP powder to add to their babies’ food to ensure that it is adequately nutritious.  The mothers are also educated about complementary feeding, and infant and young child feeding practices by village health volunteers.

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Categories Asia-Pacific

Packing Up At The Wrong Time

This blog was written by Michael Wilson, field intern at HKI Vietnam. 

As our time in Vietnam winds down, things at HKI Vietnam are doing just the opposite. Since we arrived in Hanoi close to eight weeks ago, things have progressively become busier around the office. The dog days are over here in Hanoi. Since arriving, the staff in Hanoi’s small but productive office have been busy preparing for the implementation of ChildSight® in three provinces starting in August- Ha Dong, Quoc Oai, and Nam Dinh.

HKI Vietnam has also recently received confirmation to begin the Homestead Food Production program here in Vietnam. This is an exciting new venture for Vietnam to now expand their reach and partnerships, starting in the Son La province in the coming months.

It is hard to believe that we will be packing up and leaving the beautiful Hanoi in just a few short days. We have learned so much from the staff at HKI and have enjoyed working on various projects, particularly the materials and surveys used to educate and measure knowledge and Quality of Life of the children enrolled in Vietnam’s ChildSight® program.

We are sad to leave, especially at what seems like such an exciting time the office is in- preparing for the launch of four programs and the hiring of three additional support staff.

Much thanks to all who made this opportunity possible for Casey and I. Of course, it will be hard to leave the Bánh cuốn, Khúc mía, motorbike rides, and the stifling humidity (kidding), but what will be hardest to leave will be the staff at HKI who have taken us in like family and taught and shown us many valuable, unforgettable lessons about their culture and their hearts towards the blind, hungry, and less fortunate people of Vietnam.

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Categories Asia-Pacific, Preventing Blindness