Strawberry Jam has joined hands with the Escuela De Esperanza Foundation to launch a continued, sustainable anemia-screening project in Guatemala from October 7th to the 20th.
Over the course of our visit, Strawberry Jam spent time working with the Guatemalan demographic that suffers from poverty, education, and lack of proper healthcare. With a team of skilled, tenured, doctors and healthcare professionals, we intend to make an impact in the community by dedicating our time tackling the anemia epidemic through this screening project. This program supports child-health screening and provides applicable tools for prevention.
To sustain and establish a successful program, we are humbly asking for contributions to fund the medical services and supplies for this project with a goal of $5,000. This will not only fund the medical supplies needed for a successful clinical trial but will also supply a necessary iron supplementation for an entire year to those who are in need of treatment.
The GoFundMe link below provides additional information regarding the program and information pertaining to the impact to a child’s growth and development of the anemia health crisis.
Donations towards Strawberry Jam’s involvement in this beautiful campaign can be made by simply clicking the button below.
Guatemala has the 4th highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. Anemia and parasitic diseases causing diarrhea are prevalent. Access to medical care is challenging in rural areas as 80% of the physicians are isolated to the capital city. All this leads to a high maternal and child mortality index.
Education For The Children (EFTC) is an international NGO based in Guatemala that manages Esculea de Esperanza. This social program works with disadvantaged children and their families to break the cycle of poverty through education and empowerment. The average family income in the homes of these students is between $60-160 USD. With an average of nine people to each household, families struggle to feed their families while paying $67-110 US per month on rent. About 25% of the families either are squatting or are dependent on other family members in an area called Vista Hermosa. Vista Hermosa is extremely dangerous and deemed uninhabitable by the government. Many of the working class here live in environments equivalent to the homeless in the U.S.A. 6 months of the year, the dirt floors of Vista Hermosa change to mud with a constant flow of rain. A common danger is frequent mudslides due to the steep hillside and tropical storms. Crime, including human and sex trafficking, is also very prevalent. It’s not uncommon to hear horrible stories of children being mugged on their way to school.
This type of extreme poverty and environment has an enormous impact on a child’s development. I recall one child whom we had been visiting for years. He was struggling with academics and frequent illnesses. He came from a single mother household where his mother worked 50-60 hours weekly. When we first met, he was at the 1 percentile of the growth chart. Each year after he fell 2%-4% and had profound anemia. When his mother was asked about his iron supplementation and home nutrition, her voice cracked. Through shared tears, she continued to describe her household. She was able to afford either a single serving of rice OR beans per day for her children. A fruit or vegetable could be accessed 1-2 times weekly. Iron supplementation was out of the question. Constant infections from parasites causing frequent diarrhea also severely affected his development. Sadly, this story is the baseline for many of these children and their stories resonate deeply. There is no valid reason for any child to lack access to basic needs including housing, education, healthcare, and food.
Last year, Strawberry Jam went to Guatemala and completed the first phase of research to combat childhood anemia with Nutritionist expert, PhD Kathy Beerman of Washington State University. Our goal is specific, to create a scientific formula and provide iron fortified meals in schools located in regions suffering from the highest rates of anemia. This is secondary to extreme malnutrition due to food scarcity.
The initial research was piloted in Jocotenango, Guatemala with collaborating efforts from Escuela la Esperanza, Escuela Intragada, and Lucky Iron Fish. The data pending publication yields a formula that raises mean hemoglobin values by 2 points! This is very promising and creates further confidence that we have produced a shareable, cost effective, safe, and reproducible protocol that can be utilized in low resource settings. Results of this magnitude have us committed and driven to produce a cost effective and safe way of combating childhood anemia.
For 2020, we have partnered with Colegio Parroquial, a small private school in San Mateo, Huehuetenango. A marginalized community known for the highest anemia and malnutrition rates in the Western Hemisphere. Colegio Parroguial is located in a deteriorating church, has about 300 students ages 6-13. Average family households include 8-15 people, monthly income limited to $40-$80 USD per home. Volunteer mothers prepare a small snack for the children outside over a wood fire. Erick Arturo Chivichon, a Guatemalan chef with a focus on pediatric nutrition is helping create a region specific menu using proven strategies.
A $14 dollar per month sponsorship to Strawberry Jam will provide a needed meal for a single child per year, totalling $168. Alternative ways to contribute include 50$ monthly ($600 annually) or single donation. Any contribution is greatly anticipated.
This program will improve the lives of thousands of children worldwide who suffer from extreme poverty, malnutrition, and anemia. If you are interested in investing in lasting impact, sustainable change, and measured outcomes, please support this program. Please do not hesitate to contact our Strawberry Jam team directly for further information.
For your $14 a month child donation, please click here..
(All donations receive a tax exempt 501 3c receipts)
Big thanks to our partners!
Lucky Iron Fish: https://luckyironfish.com/pages/social-impact
Escuela la Esperanza: https://www.eftcusa.org/en
Escuela Integrada: https://wearegraces.org
Childhood Anemia in Guatemala