By: J. Sangma with Willow Welter   |   Posted: March 05, 2020

Kanti had only rice to eat. Her baby? Only water. Here’s how they were rescued from malnutrition.

Why This Mom and Baby No Longer Go Hungry

Kanti had only rice to eat. Her baby? Only water. Here’s how they were rescued from malnutrition.

Written by J. Sangma with Willow Welter
Photography by J. Sangma
Kanti feeds her baby

Kanti had grown accustomed to the pain of chronic malnutrition. But the symptoms — body aches, frequent illnesses and cough — got even worse when she became pregnant with her first child.

As the expectant mother cared for their small home in Bangladesh, her husband, Babul, worked odd jobs. His income of about $1.20 a day bought them only enough food — always rice — for two small meals a day. Because Kanti wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed, neither was her baby.

Mala was born malnourished, and her health declined over the next three months because Kanti couldn’t produce milk for her. Like so many people living in poverty and facing food insecurity, the young mother was desperate.

“All I could do was give her water because that was the only thing that didn’t cost me anything.”

A mom in Bangladesh holds her 8-month-old daughter

Kanti couldn’t stand to see her daughter suffer from chronic hunger like she did. So when a neighbor told her about a nearby church that helped moms and babies, Kanti took Mala there. Thanks to donors who give to the Compassion Survival initiative, the staff had the resources to help! They registered Kanti and Mala in the Compassion Survival initiative and began giving them monthly food supplies. Kanti started attending weekly meetings, where she learned parenting and life skills.

After only a few months in the program, Kanti’s whole family is transforming. Mala, 8 months old, grows stronger every day. The Survival specialists make sure of it by monitoring her weight and height. Kanti is finally getting the nutrition she lacked for so long. And without his chronic hunger making him weak, Babul has been able to work more and increase his income to support his family.

A mom in Bangladesh holds her happy daughter
Kanti and Mala no longer suffer from chronic hunger and now have enough food to thrive.

The world is facing the most severe food shortage since World War II, and children living in poverty are the hardest hit. Learn how Compassion is responding to the global food crisis with the support of donors like you.

Hunger Facts

  • Almost half of all deaths in children under 5 are linked to undernutrition — that is, lack of enough food or lack of nutrients. 
  • Poor nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life can lead to stunted growth. Stunting is associated with impaired cognitive ability and reduced performance at school and work. 
  • Deficiencies of iodine, vitamin A and iron are major global health threats — particularly for children and pregnant women in low-income countries.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for God to provide enough nutritious food for little ones living in poverty. 
  • Pray for more job opportunities for parents. 
  • Thank God for Compassion’s frontline church partners who give hunger relief to babies and their caregivers every day.