Six month old Seylin Torrez Pineda was wilting just like a flower that droops without sunshine and water. After being abandoned by her mother and put up for adoption by her father, Seylin was listless, malnourished and sad when Martha Gladis Pineda adopted her in 2007.
Her new mother immediately began bringing Seylin to the CICO No. 2 feeding center in El Sector, Los Chiles where Seylin was able to begin a regime of essential vitamins added to maize (QPM) porridge. Within months Seylin was no longer wilting. According to Alexandra Montiel, feeding center worker, Seylin was beginning to bloom and grow into a beautiful, healthy and properly nourished 2 year old little girl.
“Seylin came to the center a sad little girl with no energy to play or socialize. We wondered if she even knew the language as she was not speaking like other children her age,” says Montiel. After a few months of eating and drinking our cereals and cornbread containing protein enriched QPM corn, Seylin had gained 5 pounds and had moved into a healthy weight range according to the nutritional growth chart.
By the time Seylin was 4 years old she was playing with the other children and speaking like a normal child her age. According to Seylin’s adopted mother, Seylin is now able to do so much more and is so much happier. “I am so thankful that Self Help International is helping Nicaraguan children get the nutrition they need for healthy development.”
During my recent visit to Nicaragua I visited the children’s feeding centers to see firsthand nutritional improvements among the children. Several U.S. sixth graders decorated recycled tennis balls that we distributed to the children. I was pleased to observe that the children were more alert, had more energy and had greatly improved hand-eye coordination. It was wonderful seeing how thrilled the kids were these presents. However, one little girl, Celine, quickly went about gathering balls, and hoarding them in her little arms. She was very reserved, shy, and compelled to keep all of them. I quickly learned that Celine had come to the center through her aunt who was now taking care of her. Unfortunately, her mother had given up her four children because she was unable to take care of them.
At 3 and one-half years, Celine arrived at the feeding center only able to speak two words. She had never known such a thing as three meals a day, but rather if there was any food to be eaten. Now, at four years she is becoming more assured that she will get at least one good meal each day. The staff continues to work closely with her to increase her vocabulary, and to establish trust so that Celine can develop into the beautiful child that is within. I am confident that during my fall trip Celine will have developed by leaps and bounds, physically, mentally, and socially. Because of your gifts, Celine has a new beginning, as do hundreds of other children. Thank you for being a part our of Self-Help’s efforts to alleviate malnutrition among youngsters.
The villages of Amanchia and Worapong, Ghana are sites where nearly 250 children ages 6 mos. to 6 years gather to attend preschools. As part of Self-Help’s children’s feeding program, each day the youngsters receive a serving of Quality Protein Maize (QPM) porridge with vitamins and minerals. This QPM porridge has greatly improved the health and well-being of these youngsters. Many children initially come to the school malnourished, with underweight bodies and dull minds. Within a few months the transformation is remarkable, and moving to observe.
And now there is a new twist in the program that is both exciting and commendable. Junior high students from both of these villages have taken upon themselves to learn good cultivation practices by growing their own QPM. But it doesn’t stop there! The students have also decided to contribute a portion of their harvest to Self-Help’s feeding program! We are thrilled by their generosity and concern for others.
Self-reliance, teaching the young to contribute to society, and improving youngsters’ lives makes us proud to be involved in these communities!
December has been a very exciting month for the children at the daycare and pre-schools. All 13 schools celebrated the holidays with games and piñatas. 30 de Mayo, the newest school, had their first pre-school graduation for children starting elementary school. Self-Help has been feeding children Quality Protein Maize porridge with vitamins at this center the past 11 months. This is the first healthy group of kids to graduate.
All of the schools continue to show big improvements in the children's health due to the meals we are providing them daily. They are gaining weight, growing taller and are more energetic. Volunteer mothers prepare the porridge five days a week. Each month a Ministry of Health nurse and the Self-Help staff measure the height and weight of each child to track their progress. Self-Help is pleased to see steady progress among the children.
Self-Help extends its gratitude to its supporters who are helping us alleviate malnutrition among the youngest generation of Nicaragua.
Our recently added vitamin and mineral packets have already shown such a huge change in the children in our feeding centers. Because the additons are so new we don't have numbers to give yet on the actual change in health however, based on the results of our previous centers who have added the packets, we are more than encouraged. From a general look of lethargy when the program first started to children running around and gianing weight, we are thirlled with the progress being seen.
Executive Director Merry Fredrick returned from a 2-week trip to our programs in Nicaragua on October 1st. Her first visit was to be at the inauguration of a brand new feeding center in 30 de Mayo, located outisde of San Carlos, Nicaragua. This is a very poor village that was using a family's home two times a week to provide meals and education for younger children. However, after generous donations and grants these mothers will be able to provide better education and meals FIVE days a week. For such a poor village this is a big improvement which will lead to healthier children and give mothers the time they need to work on farms and trade work. Being able to add vitamins and minerals to this village's feeding center will make such an impact. Such a small price to make such a big difference! We are excited to acquire more funds to continue and expand all of our feeding centers' reach.
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