According to Hunger Relief International, malnutrition during vital growth years has severe consequences on physical, cognitive, social, academic and economic potential. In rural Guatemala, thousands of children 6 months to 5 years of age experience chronic malnutrition during vital growth years. This is one reason that Friends of FORMA assists with the daily snack program that feeds 160 children in the communities of Buena Vista. Monte Mercedes and Xejuju. In addition, at the weekly tutoring sessions conducted by our scholarship students, a nutritious snack is served to the primary school children in attendance. Lessons in personal hygiene, tooth brushing, and healthy eating are included throughout the year as part of each the nutrition projects. These programs go a long way to ensure that these young children receive supplementary, healthy calories.
BACKYARD VEGETABLE GARDENS
As a supplement to the School Nutrition Program, Friends of FORMA is also involved in the encouragement and development of Backyard Gardens / Huertos. Training and demonstrations cover nutrition, crop diversity, and other garden related topics. Attendees are given the materials to start a small home garden patch; they receive seeds, starter plants, and a fruit tree.
Improved nutrition has the potential to positively influence students’ academic performance and behavior. Students are better able to learn, have fewer absences, and their behavior improves. Adequately nourished students show up at school prepared to learn.
Home vegetable gardens can play an integral role in combating malnutrition and extreme poverty:
- Gardens engage women and children working together and allow them to participate in providing for the family.
- Growing produce at home also contributes new, highly nutritional items to the families’ diets while freeing up money for other necessities.