Overcoming Obstacles - Stories of Strength from Around the World

Parents all over the world work tirelessly to give their children the chance for a better life. Despite their best efforts, malnutrition and poverty create obstacles that are hard for many families to overcome. By providing vitamins that help children fight malnutrition and promote good health, we’re helping to remove one obstacle on the path to greater opportunity.

By Elysia Cook

Resources for Remote Communities

On the map, a tiny pinpoint marks the province of Xocoyolo as due East from Mexico City toward the Gulf of Mexico. A satellite view of the area shows little more than a scattering of buildings clustered along highway Puebla 575, and lots of lush, green vegetation.

In communities like these, medical facilities can be hours away, and access to nutritious foods limited to either what grows locally or what can be trucked into and stored without perishing.

Annarelie lives in Xocoyolo with her two daughters, her mother, and grandmother. Access to basic health care represents progress for the community that has long made do with available resources or gone without. For the past two years, Annarelie's daughter, Stephanie has been receiving Vitamin Angels' vitamin A and deworming tablets. When she became pregnant last year, Annarelie received prenatal multivitamins noting that she experienced “less morning sickness, and more of an appetite!” compared to her pregnancy with Stephanie. At three-months-old Nancy is a healthy baby who makes her big sister smile. Like parents all over the world, she hopes that her daughters will “be healthy and finish school” - and she believes that the power of vitamins will help make that possible.

Unlocking Potential in Peru

Weaving is a common trade among Peruvian women, yielding textile products that are as stunning as they are functional in combating the biting Andean air. But this traditional craft also represents the lack of opportunities for women in rural areas, who are limited to weaving or working the land as sources of income.

Mothers like Estefania and Rosalyia, who we met in the village of Chaupimayo, shared that despite their mutual desire to participate in community meetings and have more professional opportunities, long-standing gender norms inhibit their potential. Despite the comforts of their village, Estefania shared that she would consider moving to the city if she had the financial means, solely for the hope of giving her children a chance at a brighter future than her own.

Both women are committed to casting a wider net of opportunity for their children. They have readily taken advantage of the resources and education provided our field partner, DESEA Peru. For example, Estefania now includes eggs and meat in the potato soups she cooks for added protein—something she wasn’t aware of before. The mothers also took prenatal multivitamins during their most recent pregnancies.

While they may not be able to change their own career paths, Estefania and Rosalyia believe that nutritious diets and vitamins will help their children stay healthy so they can excel in school. These dedicated mothers are optimistic that their children might be able to pursue their dreams without any boundaries.

Love, and vitamins, in Uganda

Water is necessary to survive, but love is necessary to thrive. Teo, a grandmother we met in a [rural/urban] Ugandan slum, provides both. After the government constructed a water tap near her home, she took on the responsibility of managing the water supply. As a result, she has become a prominent and respected member of her village, but that is not her only defining role.

Those who take a peek inside Teo’s home will likely find at least one child (if not two, or five) inside at any given time. In total, 15 children live under her roof, although she is not biologically related to any of them. They’re all orphans that she considers her “adopted children.”

As a community advocate, Teo expressed her gratitude for Vitamin Angels’ vitamins and deworming tablets, proudly stating that her children were the first in the community to receive them. She makes concerted efforts to feed them nutritious meals—when we visited, they were tucking into a lunch of silverfish, rice, and vegetables—but knows that vitamins are also imperative to their health. That these supplements are free for her children brings Teo "joy."

With so many children who need food, clothing, a place to rest their heads, and unconditional love, Teo admits that things can get “hectic." Still, she opens arms to those in need without question. “I suffered a lot in my childhood,” she told us. “I do not want anyone else to suffer.”


Despite the nature of the challenges they face, we're inspired by the dedication and fortitude displayed by the parents and caregivers who are steadfastly committed to improving their children's health and opportunity -- and proud to supplement their efforts with our supplements.

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