Feed Malnourished Nicaraguan Preschoolers

by Self-Help International

Throughout 2011 Self-Help has provided QPM porridge to 600 children in Nicaragua in an effort to allievate malnutirtion.  Each week the corn porridge was delivered to 13 daycare centers where children 6 months to 5 years attended preschool.  This setting allowed us to easily feed the children each week. 

Unfortunately we have been notified by the Nicaraguan government that the structure for the daycare centers has been changed and limited to 3 to 5 year old children.  The Ministry of Education will provide beans and rice daily.  Because of the restructuring Self-Help no longer has a role to play in feeding the children.  While we are saddened by this turn of events, we are pleased with all of the financial support we have received that allowed us to provide nutritious meals to the children. 

Thank you again to everyone who donated to this project. We would like to direct your attention to one of our other programs, #4027 (Add Vitamins to Kids' Meals in Ghana and Nicaragua) supplies vitamins to young children. This program will soon be renamed to "Add Vitamins to Kids' Meals in Ghana" due to Nicaraguan governments changes.  The following picture is of healthy children graduating from preschool and are on their way to further their education in Kindergarden. 

12 Healthy Pre-Schoolers Graduate!

 December 9, 2011 was an exciting day for 12 five year olds and their parents in Los Chiles, Nicaragua. Parents and teachers proudly watched the pre-school graduates march to the front of the room, receive  diploma’s and bask in their accomplishments.  “Some of these children have attended the daycare/preschool since birth,” says Alexandra Salas, Self-Help project officer.  Construction of the Los Chiles daycare center was completed in 2006.       

 Through gifting from generous donors in the United States, more than 221 children are able to attend daycare centers in Los Chiles and surrounding communities and receive the protein-enriched Quality Protein Maize meals. Parents, teachers and community members bear witness to the overall improved health and well-being of the children.  “The children are more active and eager to learn basic skills because they are getting the vitamins and proteins they need,” says one parent.

 And, according to Salas, the children are leaving pre-school much better prepared for kindergarten.  . Parents and teachers expressed sincere gratitude and thanks to all the people in America who are making it possible for their children to thrive.

Nataly Gains Weight and Energy

Nataly’s mother brought Nataly to the Cico Bodegon (daycare and feeding center) in Las Azucenas, Nicaragua in May of 2010. She was worried about the toll that constant hunger was having on her daughters, especially her 4 month old, Nataly.  Nataly de los Angeles Castellon Garcia was extremely underweight, malnourished and lethargic.

 When measured based on 100 point malnutrition and growth assessment scale, Nataly was a 10. Her physical and mental condition was extremely serious. Daycare and Self-Help staff immediately recognized the urgency of Nataly’s situation and began feeding her QPM porridge in small amounts at intervals throughout the morning. Nataly’s mother was informed of the grave situation and was encouraged to bring Nataly to the feeding center as often as possible.

Nataly’s mother complied and brought Nataly and her sister to the center five days each week. In the following seven months Nataly gained almost 8 pounds. By the time she was 15 months old, Nataly was a healthy, 22 pound baby and closer to the normal range with a score of 30!  While she still has a ways to go, Self Help is thrilled with her progress.  Nataly’s 4 year old sister has also gained weight and, according to their mother, both girls are becoming more active and energetic.

 “Nataly is gaining weight and has a lot more energy,” says her mother. The daycare center’s staff says it is gratifying to see healthier minds and bodies that are curious and energetic.

“This highly digestible protein supplement literally saves lives. Furthermore, measurable improvements in nutrition and childhood development occur, thanks to supporters of the Self-Help International’s feeding program for young children”, says Merry Fredrick, Self Help International Executive Director. "Kudos to our donors who care about those less fortunate."

In May I traveled to Nicaragua with the president of Self-Help’s board. We spent special time at the children’s feeding centers where we provide nutritious porridge with vitamins to alleviate malnutrition. During one of the visits the president noticed one little girl who stood out from the rest. She sat in a corner showing all the physical signs of malnourishment. As we went to leave the president brought this to my attention, wondering why our program wasn’t having a favorable impact on her. We went back inside and spoke with the educators about the child. We learned that she was not one of the children participating in the feeding program, but rather a child from a remote mountain village. She had come with her mother who had business to attend to in Los Chiles. Her mother stopped at the center, asking the staff to watch over her daughter while she did so. As we left Los Chiles, we couldn’t help but remember how virtually all of the children were once malnourished like this little girl, and thankful that Self-Help is making a difference. We were pleased to see healthier children at the feeding center, yet reminded that our work continues. Thank you for being a part of our efforts to alleviate malnutrition among youngsters in Nicaragua. Note: The photo shown is of the center, however, because the little girl is not one of our participants it was not appropriate to take a photo of her.

Dina at 22 months
Dina at 22 months

Dina Gómez Gutiérrez Rochely was being treated repeatedly at a Health Center in Cruz Verde, Nicaragua for malnutrition and low hemoglobin test numbers. Even after months of treatment doctors were seeing little progress in Dina's overall health.

Dina began attending CICO, a preschool located in Cruz Verde at 12 months of age. She weighed only 8.2 kg (18 lbs) placing her in the 10th percentile nutritional equivalent scale which is used by PANNIN. 

Having attended CICO preschool for 10 months and receiving nutritional meals using Quality Protein Maize, vitamins and minerals provided by Self-Help International, great progress is being seen in Dina's weight and overall health. In February of 2011 at 22 months of age, Dina was placed in the 30th percentile weight range which is normal for her age. Her hemoglobin had also increased to a normal value of 36.

Self-Help wants to thank everyone who so generously donates to their programs to make stories like Dina's possible. Each donation goes towards improving the health and happiness of severely malnourished children in Nicaragua.



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Organization Information

Self-Help International

Location: Waverly, IA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.selfhelpinternational.org
Project Leader:
Nora Tobin
Waverly, Iowa United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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