HONDURAS: Improving Health and Nutrition in Salesian Programs Thanks to Partnership with Stop Hunger Now
(MissionNewswire) An ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Stop Hunger Now continues fighting hunger and working to end the cycle of poverty in some of the poorest places on the planet, like Honduras.
The second largest country in Central America, Honduras is one of the poorest and most crime-ridden countries in the Western Hemisphere with 60 percent of its population living in poverty, according to the World Bank. Rough geographic terrain in the country has limited the development of transportation, keeping much of the rural population isolated. Poverty and food scarcity are severe in rural areas and one out of every four Hondurans struggle with chronic malnutrition. In addition, one out of every five Hondurans lack access to adequate healthcare.
Salesians have been working in Honduras for more than 100 years operating schools, youth centers and medical clinics to help support and educate poor youth and their families. Thanks to 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) thousands of people in need, from infants to seniors, are receiving lifesaving medical aid and nutritious food through Salesian programs in Honduras.
In 2013, Stop Hunger Now provided three shipments of rice-meals and medical aid to Salesian programs in Honduras. Another shipment was sent this past March. The rice-meals were provided to day care centers, schools, youth centers, senior programs and medical clinics as well as distributed through social programs run by local church parishes.
Staff at Salesian programs reported a marked improvement in their students as a result of the nutritious meals provided. Nutritional benefits of the rice-meals prevent early loss of teeth and well-fed students find it easier to focus in school. With the nutritious meals, fewer students were held back a grade and were able to advance in their studies.
“Access to nutritious meals allows youth to be better prepared to take part in school activities and focus on their education,” says Jessica O’Connor, property and logistics officer at the Salesian Missions Office for International Programs. “Prepared students are more likely to learn valuable skills that will help them gain employment, break the cycle of poverty in their lives and enable them to give back to their communities.”
After providing seniors with rice-meals, dramatic results included recuperation from illnesses more quickly, the development of stronger bones and more defined muscles and diminished rates of anemia.
“Salesian programs are a good match for our mission to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid while creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources,” says Chessney Barrick, director of communications and cause marketing at Stop Hunger Now.
Salesians in Honduras also run a small medical clinic in an impoverished community where people have little access to healthcare. Medical staff there treat acute respiratory infections, chronic non-communicable diseases, pneumonia, bronchitis and malnutrition. Last year, medical donations to the clinic benefited more than 450 patients each month. The donated medical supplies, including lifesaving medicines, are helping to treat these illnesses while allowing the clinic to focus on preventative health, including prenatal care.
Salesians in Honduras seek to improve the quality of life of their patients and the nutritional state of malnourished children and adults. The clinic offers healthcare to every person who needs it, especially those who are not able to access medical care at other health clinics and hospitals due to economic reasons or because of the long distances they must travel to access them.
“The partnership with Stop Hunger Now allows Salesian Missions to expand its scope of services to youth in need,” adds O’Connor. “Operating feeding programs and medical clinics for those in need is an important and integral part of promoting healthy communities and the success of our students’ ability to gain an education.”
World Bank – Honduras