A few weeks ago we were in Jicamapa and had the chance to visit with several families whose kids attend the public school and benefit from UNUM’s nutritional program. Jicamapa is a village situated in a region of Guatemala known as the “dry corridor”, where the climate is very unsuitable for crops to grow, leading to extreme rates of malnutrition. One of the reasons UNUM prioritizes nutrition is because malnutrition directly affects the proper development of children; a child who is hungry retains less information in school, has less energy to play, is sick more often than his peers. For many parents, however, feeding their children nutrient-dense food is not feasible, and that’s where UNUM’s nutritional program comes in. The following are testimonials from two families in Jicamapa who have seen their children benefit from the nutritional program.
Alice*, standing far right, is a mom and currently works in a shop processing chicken. When asked what hopes and dreams she has for her daughters, she expressed how important education is. She shared that because of her limited education, it was really difficult for her to find a job, especially considering that in many places in order to get a good job position, you need to know someone with political pull or be able to pay someone off. Alice wants her kids to graduate high-school, continue their education, and be able to have a job that doesn’t create as much physical and emotional strain as her current job does. The nutritional program at the school ensures that her kids are fed a meal that will not only fill their bellies but help them to retain and engage with what they’re learning.
Mary, pictured above, shared with us how impactful the nutritional program has been for her family, mentioning that it also helps alleviate her as a mom, since she knows that her kids will receive a nutrient-dense meal at least once a day. She commented: “We’re so grateful for the feeding program, it not only provides nutritious meals but allows the kids to explore try different foods they might not otherwise be exposed to.”
*Names have been changed