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Five reasons to give seeds to children in Laos

Everyone knows a version of the saying “give someone a fish and they will eat for a day; teach them to fish and they will eat for a lifetime”.

In landlocked Laos, fishing may not always be a valuable skill, but the essence of this saying still rings true.

Instead of relying on seafood, families in Laos are dependent on agriculture-based activities to feed their families.

Unfortunately, many families in Laos’ most disadvantaged communities do not have farms that are productive enough to provide a balanced diet, leading to some of Asia’s highest rates of malnutrition.

When you buy seeds for a family in Laos, you not only provide a starting kit for a nutrient-rich home garden, you will provide training that helps families ensure their vegetables thrive.

Your gift of seeds can help end child malnutrition and give families an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Here are five reasons why you should give the gift of seeds.

1. You will help families that need it most

To reach the most vulnerable children, ChildFund conducts nutrition surveys in villages in northern Laos. These surveys identify children under five who are malnourished. Their parents are invited to workshops where they receive training from local experts and seeds to start home gardens.

Research has found that malnutrition early in life can have lifelong consequences, which is why young children are most at risk. Not only are malnourished children more likely to get sick and miss out on a happy childhood, they are less likely to excel at school which in turn reduces their chances of finding decent employment further down the track. This can impact families for generations.

Your gift of seeds can help prevent malnutrition early in child’s life, and put them on a course that can transform their lives, and the lives of future generations.


A healthy diet helps children thrive

2. You can help give children a balanced diet

Rice accounts for 67% of food consumed in Laos, and many children suffer from a severe lack of meat, vegetables, fruits and calcium in their diet. On average, 73% of caloric intake comes from carbohydrates, 12% from meat, and 15% from fats.

Children in Laos are not getting the right variety of foods for a healthy diet.

Families whose children have been identified through the nutrition survey will receive seeds to plan tomatoes, beans, onions and other vegetables for home gardens.

With these crops growing at home, children can get the balanced diet their growing bodies need.

3. You can help future-proof home gardens

Small-scale farmers in northern Laos often rely on a single crop to provide for their families. This makes them particularly vulnerable to malnutrition and increased poverty.

If a crop fails or the price falls, they have nothing to fall back on. In addition, many crops are only productive for certain parts of the year, which can affect a family’s ability to feed their children year-round.

Families who receive seeds will form a support group and receive training from local agriculture officials who can help them identify which crops best suit the local environment. They will also explore ways to grow vegetables in gardens with limited space, using locally available materials.

These home gardens will make families less reliant on a single crop, and help to ensure that their children can eat well all 12 months of the year.

4. You can help families prosper

Once a family’s vegetable garden is thriving, they can sell surplus vegetables at the local market. For families in remote communities with high rates of poverty, this additional income can make a major difference.

Parents can use the money to buy school supplies, medical care or other kinds of food for their children. In many cases, additional income can be the difference between their children being able to go to school or having to drop out to help the family make ends meet.

5. You can help build sustainable communities

Seeds are not just a quick fix. These agricultural skills learned through training and experience will stay in the communities long after your seeds are planted.

Reducing malnutrition helps ease the burden on the local health clinics and means more children will stay in school and thrive, which increases their chances of becoming productive adults.

Seeds can result in long-term and long-lasting improvements to living standards. They can assist in creating sustainable communities, and lift children and their families in one of Asia’s poorest countries out of poverty.

Seeds allow families in Laos to grow backyard gardens that feed children and help families set themselves up for the future.

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