The people of Bangalore, India can do it for just $1—thanks to the efforts of Teh Chee Wen.
Chee Wen has a passion for health and nutrition, and she’s has been putting it to good use in the slums of the Karnataka province—teaching people how to create a nutritious meal on a small budget.
She got started when she was approached by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) to be part of the Specialist Nutrition for Children (Bangalore) project.
Her team was tasked with collecting data for the Parikrma Foundation to help enhance nutrition in four schools in the slums. After analyzing people’s nutritional knowledge, habits, constraints and availability to resources, Chee Wen’s team was ready to implement some practical solutions.
They discovered the biggest challenge was cost. The average budget per meal was about one US dollar (~65 rupees).
They taught people how to stretch their rupees to include essential nutrients in their diet—like different colored fruits or vegetables, yogurt, beans and whole grains. “With creativity, good nutrition is achievable even with very little,” said Chee Wen.
Her team also focused on teaching proper hygiene during food preparation and maintaining nutrients during cooking. The program has already been a huge success.
“We get exciting reports like improvement in vision and skin conditions, children falling sick less often, better home hygiene and so on,” she said.
In order to put their knowledge to the test, Chee Wen and her team hosted a clean home and cooking competition. The meals had to meet four qualifications:
- Quick and easy to prepare
- Nutrient dense
- On budget
- Delicious and attractive
“We were awed when we saw how creative they were in applying what was taught. Their food actually looked and tasted better than the food in restaurants,” she said. “Best of all, they were really healthy!”
People who participated in the health training were excited to share their knowledge with friends, family and neighbors, sparking a real interest in the area. Even though they are daily wage earners, they’re so committed to the cause that they forgo their daily earnings to train others.
Chee Wen’s team decided to take advantage of this grassroots movement by starting a Train-the-Trainer program, teaching people who have changed their lifestyle to empower and train others to do the same.
“It is our hope that not only a small segment of the population will benefit from the contextualized program, but that the ripple effect will carry on,” she said. “As a USANA Associate, nothing is more fulfilling than knowing that I have made a difference in peoples’ health, and that this difference will in turn benefit others.”
Chee Wen is now in the process of putting together a health book for her friends back in Bangalore, in the hopes that the knowledge of proper health will spread to as many people as possible and continue to change lives.
“The friendship of the people of Bangalore . . . really touched my heart. Though I had intended to bless, I ended up being blessed by them. I intended to teach; yet I ended up being taught.”
–Teh Chee Wen, USANA Associate
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