For the past year, Shoulder to Shoulder has provided a nutritional supplement called Chispuditos to children from impoverished families living in an isolated area of Honduras. We are successfully reducing stunting, wasting, slow intellectual development, chronic illnesses, and anemia; all common outcomes of poor nutrition. By helping us to continue this program for an additional year, children will become healthier, grow, thrive, and be empowered to break the chains of cyclical poverty.
The children of Southern Intibuca, a place of unforgiving poverty and scarce opportunity, are literally wasting away. Shoulder to Shoulder's data reveal that almost 40% of children less than 5 years of age are stunted (higher than Haiti). About half are anemic, 13% are underweight, and 3% are wasting. But the vacant, ghostlike expressions of desperate children tell the story better than statistics. These children need nutrients so that life is more than the time it takes to die.
Data from present and previous studies reveal that Chispuditos has significantly increased weight and height, decreased anemia, and improved morbidity. In an earlier Shoulder to Shoulder implementation, children in the program visited health clinics 42% less for diarrhea and 25% less for bronchitis than children not in the program. In the same implementation, 84% of mothers reported that their children had more energy. Simply stated, the program insures that children become healthier.
The project will save 2800 children from the ill effects of undernutrition. They will be healthier with greater potential to be productive. They will place less of a burden on the health care system. They will achieve higher levels of success in education. They will become more involved in their communities. Rather than victims of cyclical, generational poverty, they will become engaged as partners in the search for solutions to endemic systems of limited opportunities.