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31 August 2023 - Story

Urban Struggle of a New Mother

Aye Chan was born and raised in Ayeyarwaddy Region. About a decade ago, she moved to Yangon as a migrant and worked at a factory crafting purses. Her life was a delicate balance of hard work with minimum wages earned by both her and her husband. With those earnings, they managed to make ends meet. However, life turned to be more challenging when she was four months pregnant. Their house in the slum area was demolished with the force of relocating within a week. Then, just after that stressful event, her factory decided to lay off migrant workers, leaving Aye Chan unemployed and grappling with the challenges of an uncertain future. 

"My husband works as a casual worker. Life became more difficult compared to the time we both were earning. Since after was laid off, I could not continue monthly savings with a priority on the daily necessities. No saving makes me feel worried about the future."

On a day when Aye Chan heard about the Save the Children Healthy Choice project from her neighbors, she decided to register as a pregnant mother. That decision marked the beginning of her transformational journey. Attending the nutrition awareness sharing sessions organized by Save the Children, she gained insights that would prove invaluable for her journey into motherhood. The sessions provided a wealth of knowledge, from prenatal care to breastfeeding practices and introducing solid food for babies.

"In my spare time, I use Facebook to read articles I can apply to my motherhood. There is a Facebook page named 6la (six months), and I read the articles with the character 'Ma Chit Pu'. Reading these articles teaches me how to have nutritious meals as a lactating mother, and I apply this knowledge daily. Also, I take care of my child to be nutritious according to the understanding I received from the nutrition awareness sharing sessions."

Aye Chan's thirst for knowledge and commitment to her community led her to become a mother group leader, sharing the wisdom she had gained with other mothers. The impact of her leadership echoed the ripple effect of empowerment, creating a network of informed and empowered mothers who were equipped to provide the best for their children.

"I have also received cash support seven times from Save the Children. Since I received cash support of 40,000 MMK ($19) every two months, I saved 20,000 MMK($9.5) for the cost of childbirth and bought nutritious food for my pregnancy with the remaining 20,000 MMK($9.5). After giving birth to my child, I usually buy healthy food and save some money for my child's health just in case." 

Having received training and support, Aye Chan now enjoys her days while caring for her beloved child. She manages finances well for her child while engaging in self-study to stay updated with essential nutritional knowledge for mothers.