Infants and children aren’t the only ones benefiting from Self Help International’s vitamin program in Ghana, mother’s benefit too!
Mothers of children receiving the protein enriched vitamin supplements are not only learning good health and nutrition practices when they bring their children to the feeding centers. Self Help staff provides valuable training and education about nutrition, sanitation and hygiene - information these mothers would otherwise have no access too.
The women then put the new information and techniques into practice in their homes and with their families. “It’s like a ripple effect,” says Merry Fredrick, Self Help International Director. “ Mothers inform their families who then inform their communities. . .the improved practices spread and the entire community benefits.”
Investing in this education further enhances the benefits of Self Help’s QPM porridge feeding program to increase protein intake, as well as its distribution of vitamins. Sound family healthcare practices complement the program and reduction in illnesses continues to decline.
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.”
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!
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