School is out for the summer, and we’ve restarted our Summer Meals program!
This program is designed to make sure our kids are staying healthy ands getting enough to eat over the summer. As you may know, during the school year we feed all our students two nutritious meals a day! However, in our first year of operating, we noticed that many of our kids had lost weight over the summer from being underfed or not having enough key nutrients. In Haiti, one in five children are chronically malnourished. The Joseph School knows that a hungry child can not learn.
The Threat of Malnutrition:
Malnutrition at a young age can lead to serious problems later on in life. When three out of four Haitians live in poverty, this becomes a serious threat to the children of Haiti.
“Severe malnutrition suffered in the first two years of life in Haiti has resulted in irreversible physical and mental disabilities and depressed immune systems, making children more susceptible to contracting diseases and increasing the probability of childhood death. Malnutrition at an early age leads to reduced physical and mental development for a person’s entire life. ”
-Meds and Food for Kids
What We’re Doing:
To fight malnutrition, we started a summer program to ensure that our students would receive enough nutrition over the summer. We evaluate the students before school is out to see who is at risk for malnutrition. Then, we make bi-weekly visits to drop off Vita Mamba supplements to them and their families.
Vita Mamba is a ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) that is designed specifically for kids at risk of malnutrition. It has been declared the “gold standard” in combating malnutrition by the World Health Organization. Vita Mamba is a peanut, milk and soy based paste, fortified with vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, iodine and vitamins A and B12. It also provides a source of energy, protein and essential fatty acids. A regular supply of this keeps students from losing weight or becoming malnourished over the summer. This keeps our students healthy year-round!
This year, we have 53 students at risk (many from our youngest and first year class). This is the largest number of students we’ve ever had in need; however, we’ve already seen tremendous growth from the previous years of this program.
Our previous at-risk students did not lose weight, but actually grew at a normal rate over the summer. Therefore, we’re confident it will be the same for our current 53 children. After all, healthy bodies build healthy minds!
If you would like updates on how our students are doing, follow us on social media!