Undernutrition has always been a serious problem in the Philippines. The number of undernourished children is even more increasing while the pandemic is still in the midst of poverty and believed that this is the key driver of childhood undernutrition.

In Tzu Chi Foundation – Bohol, one of its focused programs is helping those children in the community who are experiencing high rates of stunting and undernutrition. In response to the situation, reported undernourished children will be given Multi-Grain Instant Mix Supplement to add nutrients to their body and avoid worsening the situation. This powder is rich in calcium and iron, which both help the heart, nerves, and muscles work the way they should.

On August 3, 2021, Tzu Chi volunteers, scholars, and the Barangay Health Worker conducted house-to-house visitation to the reported 17 undernourished children ages 2 to 5 in Barangay Manga, city of Tagbilaran. These children already received 4 packs of Multigrain Supplement a couple of months ago.

Each of them was weighed to know its development after taking several packs of the multigrain. Volunteers are very happy seeing the increase in their weight. Most of them gained 2 to 4 kilograms almost near to their ideal Body Mass Index.

Parents are truly grateful to the Tzu Chi Foundation and are very happy for the improvements of their children. Seeing their child’s dedication in fighting for undernutrition makes them very hopeful that their child will be called normal one day.

Jeniza Torillo, 28, a mother of Christian and Niño in Manga, city of Tagbilaran is very thankful for the realization of this program. She knew Tzu Chi since they came to Bohol way back 2013, and with their selfless love, and dedication to the humanitarian works, she got also inspired with its mission.

“I have 2 kids that were considered undernourished. Both of them experience stunting and has no appetite when it comes to eating their meals. I often saw them frail and unwell in some of their daily activities and I was so sad to see that,” Jeniza said.

“But when this Multigrain supplement came, it became our aid to turn everything into positivities. As a mother, I would try to give what’s best for my kids. By giving and serving them veggie meals to maintain their proper nutrition. Soon, when they grow up, I want them to finish their studies.” She added.

She also encourages those parents who also experiences same with her situation to seek help to the Tzu Chi Foundation for immediate action and response.

Aina Naparota, 21, a mother of a 2-year-old Natallie, from Manga, Tagbilaran city is happy for the improvement of her child after taking the supplement. Aina got pregnant while she was just 19 years old while her live-in partner, Joel was only 16. Their house is raised in a stilt area surrounded only by laminated sack and is dangerous when heavy rains, floods, and high tides occur. Aina has no work at the moment and relies only on her partner’s income who works at a bakery in the city. Joel’s income is not enough to sustain their daily needs since they have a lot of debts to pay. Their indigence has resulted the inability to meet their basic food requirements due to income losses.

It really affects them especially their child and it’s really hard to achieve her proper growth and nutrition. In this case, Natallie belongs to one of the undernourished children in their area.

“I can recall how weak and pale Natallie was. As a mother, it’s very painful seeing my child suffered from undernutrition. I cannot help myself from thinking what if this situation will stay for a long time knowing that there are times, we don’t have food or rice to eat due to exhausted finances,” Aina uttered.

“I am so thankful that my child was one of the chosen recipients of Tzu Chi’s multigrain program. In fact, Natallie loves to drink the multigrain and it really helped her to build her minimal strength,” she added.

“I have 4 children who are recipients of this program. Since we’re given Multigrain supplement, I observe some improvements to my children,” said Mary Ann Estriba, a mother of 4 children in Manga, Tagbilaran city. The empty packs of the supplement were used as their coin bank and children save an amount of money to it for future expenses.

Another 85 reported recipients in Mabini, Bohol were given packs of Multigrain on July 24, 2021. Together with the CMC Riders Association headed by one of our active volunteers, Bro. Mario Garcia, as well as the scholars, staff, and volunteers, the giving of supplements gave smiles and joy to the children and inspiration to the parents.

In the town of Sagbayan, 94 children were also given Multigrain supplements as an aid for the undernourished children. Volunteers were also present in the program happened last August 19 and 20, and assisted in the distribution and weighing of the children. Parents were truly happy and excited about the future progress of their children.

As part of its continuing love, children received 2 packs of Multigrain Instant Mix and hopefully, by taking the supplement, they would achieve the normal and ideal BMI for the next visitation.

This program of Tzu Chi Foundation gives hope and inspiration to all children who experienced undernutrition. Hopefully, by this program, there will be no children that will be left behind facing the same situation.

Multigrain recipients and Tzu Chi – Bohol scholars conducted thank you greetings to the donors (Uncle Steve, Uncle Bingo, and Auntie Jenny) as part of their gratitude and appreciation for helping and realizing this program.

As of September 3, 2021, a total of 3,787 packs of Multigrain Supplement were given to 516 undernourished recipients to the entire province of Bohol.

Until now, Tzu Chi Foundation responds and addresses those children in need of proper growth and nutrition by giving them the supplement. Despite the poverty they are facing, still, they are very hopeful that one day, their children will recover from their present situation.

Indeed, we can never underestimate the importance of helping people in small ways, as these little things can truly make a big difference to everyone.