About 90,000 refugees from Myanmar live in nine camps in western Thailand, near the Thailand-Myanmar border. Our long-time partner, The Border Consortium, reaches these refugees with food, shelter and other support.
A few months ago, as the threat of COVID-19 emerged, The Border Consortium was in the process of introducing a nutritious food called BabyBRIGHT to the children in Ban Mai Nai Soi Refugee Camp. BabyBRIGHT is a fortified complementary food that is formulated to ensure that the refugee children who eat it will have the best possible health in their early years.
BabyBRIGHT was created to fight chronic malnutrition, which is all too common in situations like this one. It has proven effective over the years, so it’s an important part of the Healthy Babies, Bright Futures campaign for families with children between six months and 2 years old. The program focuses on a variety of ways that parents can feed their young children better; BabyBRIGHT is one component of a larger program. CWS provided the funding to expand the use of BabyBRIGHT into Ban Mai Nai Soi.
The inaugural BabyBRIGHT distribution in Ban Mai Nai Soi in April went smoothly. While following COVID-19 prevention measures, the TBC team reached nearly 200 children and their families over a three-day period. Each family received BabyBRIGHT as well as information about nutrition for the whole family. That’s 200 children who now have a significantly better opportunity for longer, healthier and more productive lives.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread worldwide, the Thai government put travel restrictions in place that affected the refugee camps. That could have made it difficult to continue to purchase and distribute BabyBRIGHT, but TBC continued to coordinate with the Thai authorities, and the supply of BabyBRIGHT flowed without interruption. The camp’s health care partner is also helping to distribute BabyBRIGHT within the camp in a way that ensures COVID-19 protection measures while reinforcing best nutrition practices.
We’re so grateful for everyone who is working hard to ensure that these refugee children will have the chance to grow up healthy and strong. That includes TBC, Thai authorities and partners in the camps who are putting supplies in families’ hands. It includes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whose Light the World campaign provided the funds that CWS used to support this work. And, most importantly, it includes the parents and family members who are working day in and day out to feed children healthy food–including BabyBRIGHT!