Having never been to Ghana before, I was absorbing every conversation, every meeting, and every experience at the various sites we visited. Among those experiences are hours and hours of stories to tell, pictures to share, and videos to replay. Playing soccer on dirt roads with kids after school, butchering the little Twi'i I knew and eating local fruits with beneficiaries in their villages became common practice. One memory that is especially dear to me was when I met Abraham and his mother during one of our meetings outside of Kobriti.
I was shown a picture of Abraham when he was young and a bit malnourished. His mother had just started her first loan and over the next two years, she invested in her business and it paid off! She has expanded her business and Abraham has surely benefited from the loans as well. He had been eating QPM-enriched porrige and grew a significant amount. Shy, yet full of energy and playful with his mother, Abraham will start school soon and coincidently be one of the tallest kids in his class. Our executive director, Merry, did not recognize him until she was told who he was. As his mother carried chairs out of our meeting area, Abraham easily walked to the car with a large bowl full of palm fruit balanced on his head. He was happy to hand us mangoes from the back of the truck, initiative that was not taken last year when he was much shyer and not nearly as strong. At his young age, he is very healthy and strong, obvious signs that the QPM porridge has positively-affected his growth.
Mothers Learn Too
Infantsand children aren’t the only ones benefiting from Self Help International’svitamin program in Ghana, mother’s benefit too!
Mothers of childrenreceiving the protein enriched vitamin supplements are not only learning goodhealth and nutrition practices when they bring their children to the feeding centers.Self Help staff provides valuable training and education about nutrition, sanitationand hygiene - information these motherswould otherwise have no access too.
The women then putthe new information and techniques into practice in their homes and with theirfamilies. “It’s like a ripple effect,” says Merry Fredrick, Self HelpInternational Director. “ Mothers inform their families who then inform their communities.. .the improved practices spread and the entire community benefits.”
Investing in thiseducation further enhances the benefits of Self Help’s QPM porridge feedingprogram to increase protein intake, as well as its distribution of vitamins.Sound family healthcare practices complement the program and reduction inillnesses continues to decline.
Infants and children aren’t the only ones benefitting from Self Help International’svitamin program in Ghana, mother’s benefit too!
Mothers of children receiving the protein enriched vitamin supplements are not only learning goodhealth and nutrition practices when they bring their children to the feeding centers.Self Help staff provides valuable training and education about nutrition, sanitation andhygiene - information these mothers would otherwise not have access too.
The women then put the new information and techniques into practice in their homes and with theirfamilies. “It’s like a ripple effect,” says Merry Fredrick, Self HelpInternational Director. “ Mothers inform their families who then inform theircommunities. . .the improved practices spread and the entire communitybenefits.”
Investing in this education further enhances the benefits of Self Help’s QPM porridge feedingprogram to increase protein intake, as well as its distribution of vitamins.Sound family healthcare practices complement the program and decreased frequency ofillnesses continues..
Kenlin’s struggle began at inception. Her young mother, 16 year old Epifania Palacios, was physically handicapped from a cerebral stroke she suffered as a child. When Kenlin Carolina Izaguirrre Palacios entered the world on Sept. 11, 2009, she was under weight and at a disadvantage because of the limited access her mother had to the vitamins and nutrition she desperately needed.
Her mother heard about Self Help International’s nutrition project in a daycare center not far from their farm. So, at 6 months old and in precarious health due to malnutrition, Kenlin and her mother traveled to for medical advice and vitamins. Kenlin was underweight at 13 pounds,
Her mom’s physical disabilities made the journey to Cico especially challenging, but, according to the staff, she persevered. Her daughter became visibly stronger and healthier, and with-in six months Kenlin had gained seven pounds.
Then Kenlin fell ill with an intestinal infection that made her weak and unable to eat so her mother stopped taking her to Cico. Kenlin recovered from this setback in her life, but her weight plummeted. Mother and daughter began the daily trek again for the vitamin and supplement regime and again, Kenlin began to thrive.
By the time Kenlin was 21/2 she weighed a healthy 25 pounds. According to the daycare staff, Kenlin’s parents are very happy their daughter is doing so well.
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.”
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