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Manju Thekre is a 23 year old resident of Ragiwada Village in the Darchula district of Nepal, where she lives with her husband, 17-month-old daughter, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and brother-in-law.

Manju is identified as a “1000 days mother,” referring to the first 1000 days from conception up until a child turns two in which both the nutrition of both the mother and child is crucial for the child’s early development. The term has been coined by the USAID funded Suaahara program, led by HKI, that provides these mothers with a number of training programs to ensure that their children have access to proper nutrition and hygiene. Manju and her mother-in-law participated in these programs, through which they were able to broaden their knowledge about the importance of mother-and-child nutrition during the “1000 days” period. They also participated in Homestead Food Production training, provided by Suaahara, which supplied them with nutrient-rich vegetable seeds to plant and chicks to raise.

As a result of her experience with Suaahara training programs, Manju has expressed her gratitude to Suaahara and now manages her own homestead garden and raises poultry. She grows a variety of vegetables in her garden and her poultry produces plenty of eggs, which she and her family consume on a regular basis. Manju has also become a regular participant in a number of Suaahara activities. She attends and participates in Health Mother Group meetings where she shares her own practices with the group.

Thanks to the assistance provided by Suaahara in areas such as nutrition, hygiene, and homestead food production, Manju has changed the nutrition habits of herself and her family for the better. She is now helping other mothers adopt the healthy behaviors that promote proper development of children under two years of age. She has indicated that her baby is developing properly in a healthy environment.

Manju extends her deepest gratitude to the Suaahara program and Helen Keller International for providing her with the opportunity to broaden her knowledge about the importance of nutrition to children under two years of age and lactating and pregnant women.