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Stories from the Field

School Meals Help Build Confidence for Uyen in Vietnam

By Hannah Payne on August 24, 2022

In Tay Giang, a mountainous district in Vietnam, five-year-old Uyen lives with her parents, siblings and grandmother. Her parents work planting rice in the high hills, where the majority of the village are also employed.  

While both of her parents work hard to support their six-person household, they face difficulties with low incomes. Uyen often missed meals throughout the day and faced malnutrition, a common occurrence for many in the region. Unable to afford alternative arrangements, Uyen and her younger sister often accompanied her parents to the field as they worked. 

After being approached by the staff of the local school, Uyen’s parents made the decision to enroll her in the Blahee-Anong Kindergarten. She receives nutritious Rise Against Hunger meals, distributed by partner Children of Vietnam, there every day.

Two years after she began attending the school, Uyen is now flourishing and her health and confidence have improved. Her homeroom teacher, Mrs. Bach, remembers the first time she met the young girl. “I greeted her — a thin and weak child who felt shy and scared when someone talked to her. But now she is very sociable with friends and very nimble in learning, obedient with teachers and staff here. She can sing and dance in front of the class with great confidence.” 

Since Uyen and the other children began receiving meals at school, Mrs. Lanh, the school principal, has noticed their health and nutrition have improved, noting that they are reaching healthier weights and have more energy to concentrate and learn in class. “Many children [are affected by] poor health and low weight… We’ve followed up on their weight and feel satisfied with their growth, and most children gain weight,” Mrs. Lanh said. 

It starts with a meal, and it leads to education and confidence for Uyen. With her teacher and principal both praising her for her helpfulness, intelligence and musical talent, Uyen is doing amazing in school. “I like going to school,” said Uyen. “Here I meet many friends, toys and have tasty meals.”

You can have a hands-on impact by packaging nutritious meals that are distributed to children, like Uyen, and families facing hunger around the world. Sign up to host a Rise Against Hunger meal packaging event today!