Advocacy empowers children in need

Advocating for Children

By the age of 24, Zin Mar had already given birth twice. First, to her daughter, now four years old and, in 2016, to a baby boy.

 Zin Mar opted for a home birth in her village in Myanmar. Immersed in familiar surroundings and supported by her family, it’s where she felt safest.

Her labour went smoothly and Zin Mar’s baby came into the world seemingly healthy. “The first day the baby took my breastmilk,” Zin Mar says. “But after that, he was sleeping all the time and wouldn’t eat.”

Three days after he was born, Zin Mar describes how her baby’s skin turned yellow and he started convulsing. Her parents and neighbours rushed to help, but others in her community said there was nothing that could be done. “So, I let him be and just watched him,” Zin Mar recounts. “It lasted about seven hours. At 4 a.m., my baby died.”

At this point, we may ask the obvious question: “Couldn’t the baby have been taken to a health clinic?”
The fact is, most deaths among children under five are preventable. The early days of childhood are critical for preventing or treating malnutrition and common illnesses through simple and cost-effective solutions like routine checkups, parenting classes and breastfeeding support.

In Zin Mar’s village, getting to the nearest health institution required traveling far distances by boat. When water levels were low, it made travel impossible.
Thanks to the 1000 Day Journey initiative – led by World Vision and funded by the Government of Canada – mothers and children receive quality health care in the first 1,000 days of life, from conception to two years old.
The 1000 Day Journey video series takes Canadians deeper into our work by introducing people like Zin Mar and has gained significant traction online, reaching nearly 47,000 views.
Today, Zin Mar’s village is better equipped for pregnancy, childbirth and potential emergencies. A health clinic is now just a few minutes’ walk from Zin Mar’s home, pre- and post-natal training are available, and her community has received high-speed boat ambulances for when emergencies strike.