We fight child malnutrition by providing nutritious school meals daily to over 1,200 indigenous Guatemalan school children. The lunches help the children to stay healthy, focus better and remain in school.
Food insecurity and lack of dietary diversity present major challenges for the children of coffee-growing communities throughout Central America. In the western highlands of Guatemala, 70% of Mayan children are stunted and malnutrition rates reach as high as 60%. These health problems translate into short attention spans, poor academic performance, and a high risk of illness.
First, we work with school officials and local mothers to provide daily meals to primary school children. These meals include vitamins and nutrients that alleviate short term hunger and improve students' health, attendance, and concentration in school. Second, we address chronic food insecurity and malnutrition by establishing organic school gardens that serve as outdoor classrooms, supplement school meals, and show students what they can do in their own backyards to improve their diets.
Through primary school classes on organic gardening, students learn to contribute to the solution of their own malnourishment and food insecurity. They take home the lessons they learn in the classroom by creating small family gardens and eating more varied diets, eventually resulting in healthier families and stronger communities.