Hamutuk Ita Ajuda Malu Together We Help Each Other
HIAM Health

Teach A Mother, Sustain A Family

23 year-old Amelia with her daughter Celestina
23 year-old Amelia with her daughter Celestina.
Hello, I'm Amelia da Costa, a 23 year-old living in Dili, Becora. I'm a mother of one and currently lactating. My daughter's name is Celestina da Silva and she is 10 months old.

When I brought Celestina to HIAM Health she weighed 6.3kg with a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) of 11.6cm. Thanks to the rehabilitation at HIAM Health, she is now She is now 7.2kg and growing well.

I feel very happy now that I am learning so many things in HIAM through education, rehabilitation, and Home Kitchen Gardens workshops. Before, I didn't know how to cook a balanced diet for Celestina. I only knew to cook porridge for her. But now I understand what makes a good diet. When I go back home, I will cook healthy meals for my child and family. I also understand more about the prevention of TB, diarrhea and even know how to reduce my child's fever now.

A Mother's Heartfelt Thanks to HIAM Health

Everyone should know about HIAM and the good that they do. Not just from Dili but all the districts in my country. Many still don't. I hope HIAM gets to expand their nutritional education program to all the districts. The MR&EC is a wonderful place that teaches us about general health issues of the family, and how to resolve them with proper nutrition. I’m very proud and thankful of what the staff have taught me. Now I feel more confident about being a mother. Because of HIAM, my child is now getting better.

Planting Hope, Harvesting Health

Colours in food
'See a rainbow on your plate’ is our key message of a balanced meal to illiterate women. We ask, ‘How many colors are on your plate? More than 4? Great job!

Cultivating Community Gardens Together

In May 2012, 5 women and 10 men from the village of Caitarau’u came to our MR&EC to learn about horticulture and its links to a balanced daily diet. As key community influencers, these 15 were chosen by the village leaders.

In just 5 days, they learnt to

  1. Cultivate their crops based on local, low-cost inputs. Using easy permaculture techniques, they were free from relying on external funding or technology.
  2. Collect seed and store them for the next crop.
  3. Rotate crops and make organic compost to improve soil fertility and yields.
  4. Grow diverse vegetable types so that whole families could enjoy a balanced diet.
  5. Budget and market excess harvest for cash.

Breaking the Cycle of Malnutrition, 2 Key Messages

  1. Plant variety to eat variety.
  2. 'See a rainbow on your plate’ is our key message of a balanced meal to illiterate women.

Many Timorese can’t read or write. More can’t grasp the concept of nutrition, vitamins or minerals. Here's how a simple visual conveys a strong message to improve their daily consumption.

Teaching nutrition
Nutrition Classes for community groups.

What Villagers Say

Thanks to the project, we can make big improvements to our lives.
Growing a variety of vegetables meet our nutritional needs. And we can earn extra income from selling surplus vegetables.
We are very thankful for HIAM’s lessons. Knowing how to implement a community garden gives us more control over our future.

Teach the People, Sustain a Nation

Group from Natabora TL
Bega Valley Advocates, NSW AU sponsored group from Natabora TL

Residential Training on Home Kitchen Gardens

In August 2012, 15 from Betano attended our residential training on Home Kitchen Gardens (HKG) to learn how to improve on nutrition and health.

We discovered their food taboos:

Can’t feed fruits to the baby.
Pregnant women can’t eat an egg or pumpkins.
Lactating mothers can’t eat vegetables and eggs, it will affect their breast milk and cause constipation in babies. They cannot eat fish because it makes the baby weak. She should only eat rice porridge.
The colostrum is dirty.

And corrected these misconceptions in our workshops

Through many interactive activities like games, singing and history acts, we helped everyone understand the critical link between what’s planted in their ‘home kitchen garden’ and how it leads to good nutrition. We also demonstrated how to cook a nutritious balanced diet everyday.

Every session, the participants had many questions. Thankfully, they were also willing and able to respond to questions and make presentations.

Prior to the workshop, we conducted a pretest to find out their level of knowledge. 10 out of 15 scored under 55%. In a post-test evaluation, 11 scored well over the 55%. Positive change in mindsets and behavior had begun, in just 5 days at our education centre.