Recently, we had a visit from cookery students at the INTECAP college in Quetzaltenango who planned and cooked nutritious meals and a sweet treat for our children in the Lunchroom programme. This programme offers food to around fifty children, four days a week and all cooked by our cook and assistant cook whom are both mothers from the community. Over the two days, both the children here at Caras Alegres and the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves and even had time for a game of football afterwards! Thank you to Manuel and his students
We have also been weighing and measuring the children to see the effects of our Lunchroom programme but also to understand the physicality of the children who attend our afternoon programme as well. It will be interesting and hopefully exciting to see the change in weight and height over time and the extent to which our programme is having its intended aim. Many of them at present are underweight for their age and we will do everything we can to change this and to help reduce the malnutrition of these children. Guatemala as a country has high levels of malnutrition, placing at number six for worldwide levels of chronic malnutrition which clearly shows why we took the opportunity to improve levels of nutrition within our own community.
This leads to our success story of Judith, an eleven-year-old girl attending our programme, who just last month was delighted at having put on eight pounds since the inception of the Lunchroom programme in January! She came running into the office with the excellent news, straight from having been weighed the health clinic and we were just as happy as she was. We hope that by having higher levels of nutrition, the children are able to concentrate more and therefore perform better academically. For us, it is really important and rewarding to see the effects of our good work and we can’t wait to hear other similar stories in the near future.
Our women’s literacy programme is also a new initiative to begin this year and so far, it has been very effective where in a community there a high number of illiterate women compared to men. The programme runs just like all our other programmes, Monday to Thursday but instead, it operates in the evenings and is run by a social worker. There are fourteen regular attendees of the programme, eleven of whom are mothers to children attending Caras Alegres Tarde. We are very grateful to be increasing our number of direct beneficiaries from this community.
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