GUATEMALA: Rice Meal Donation Provides Healthy Nutrition to Indigenous Children Attending Salesian Community Centers
(MissionNewswire) Children participating in the Community Centers of Opportune Stimulation of Talita Kumi project facilitated by the Salesian-run Foundation for the Development and Education of Indigenous Women in Guatemala have received access to better nutrition thanks to a recent shipment of fortified rice meals. The donation was made possible through an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Stop Hunger Now, an international relief organization that provides food and life‐saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable.
The children attending the community centers receive pre-primary education that is facilitated by volunteers from the community with the help of Salesian staff. At the end of each day, the children receive a serving of rice and a cup of cereal cornflower drink. The mothers are also able to bring rice home as an incentive for their participation in the training processes. The project works with mothers to educate them about values, children’s rights in education, health, strengthening children’s self-esteem and early learning.
The rice is very important for the project because it contributes to the attendance of the children and the participation of the parents in the training processes. It also provides an important nutritional support to the children, many of whom are growing up in risky environments due to poverty. Chronic malnutrition is a threat for those under five years old in these communities. The community also faces food shortages when the weather is bad and there is no work or there are crop losses.
Children have an opportunity to play at the center, study and spend time with their peers. Later in the day, they receive their afternoon rice meal, which is prepared by Salesian staff with the help of local families who bring water and firewood as well as tomatoes, onions and oil when these supplies are available.
“Here in the community, there are many children lacking financial resources, and their families are very poor,” said Martha Contreras Choc, committee secretary for the project. “Because they live in poverty, they cannot provide good food to their children. The meals are a support to families to help ensure their children have access to the healthy nutrition that supports their growth and development.”
More than 795 million people around the world go hungry every day, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. More than 70 percent of food insecure people live in rural areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Near East. Of those who go hungry daily, 98 percent reside in developing countries where there is not only a shortage of food but major challenges for aid to reach its destination.
Salesian Missions programs are dedicated to facilitating agricultural education and providing feeding programs in more than 130 countries around the globe. Operating primary schools, technical training centers, agricultural schools, youth centers, orphanages and programs for street children, Salesian missionaries are on the front lines of the battle against hunger.
Because Salesian missionaries work and live in the communities they serve, they are also perfectly positioned to ensure that the distribution of food aid reaches those who need it most while offering programs that teach agricultural techniques to increase local food production. Through ongoing partnerships with organizations like Stop Hunger Now, Salesian missionaries are able to deliver life-saving food aid and other supplies to those in need in their communities.
PHOTO: Courtesy Talita Kumi
Salesian Missions Office for International Programs