Fighting Back Against Malnutrition in El Salvador

Many of us throw our used cardboard, glass and cans into a recycling bin without giving it a second thought.

Imagine relying on these recyclables for income so you can eat.

That’s been the situation for Sebastian, a seven-year-old living in a village about forty-five miles outside the capital of El Salvador. In communities like his, levels of malnutrition can reach almost 50%, and almost two-thirds of the population lives in extreme poverty. 

sebastian_el-salvador_2Many of the people in Sebastian’s village make a living any way they can: day labor, construction work, and other temporary jobs. Some of the work is seasonal; women may clean houses in the city, then work in coffee fields during harvesting season. Steady jobs are extremely rare. Sebastian’s own mother works in the capital Monday through Friday, visiting Sebastian and his older sister on weekends. Sebastian has a guardian who looks after him during the week: “The mother works very hard to get some money to cover the basic needs for these children,” she says. “I know how hard is to be a single mother, so I help her take care of her children.” Sebastian’s mother earns about $100 per month, which only covers the absolute basics.

“I miss my mother a lot,” Sebastian says, “but I know she loves me, because she works very hard for me—for love.”

Sebastian’s house is tiny, made from bamboo and pieces of wood, with sheets for doors. Though small, the house is crammed full with clothes and items the family has collected over the years that they sell along with recyclables for a little extra money. Meals consist of beans and tortillas, plus vegetables, rice, and eggs when things are going well. Sebastian and his sister are fortunate—they eat three meals a day—but the food lacks the essential nutrients for growing children.

And good nutrition is important to Sebastian. Like many boys his age, he loves football games with his friends and playing with his dog “Dogui.” But he’s also up at 5 a.m. every morning to haul water from the well, among other chores. He tells us he wants to be a firefighter so he can help families in need. Even at his young age, he knows how important a healthy diet is for a healthy body, so his dreams can become reality.

Feed the Children has been partnering with the mothers of Sebastian’s village since 2014, cooking and serving nutritious meals each weekday through the Feeding Center. About a hundred children are fed each day in a fully equipped kitchen with tables and benches. Feed the Children also provides children ages six and up with medicine to eliminate intestinal parasites.

Food and medical care are important, but they’re only the beginning. We also provide training and support as the village improves its livelihoods. We’ve offered courses in greenhouse fertilizer and how to create a tilapia hatchery so the community can increase its income and make the tough climb out of poverty.

“I feel blessed because you are a big help for my mother,” Sebastian tells us. We can continue to help Sebastian, and even more children like him, through your continued support. Donating is easy and makes a huge impact. Join our work today.

 

Dennys, 16, became a tailor for his community in El Salvador

Dennys is 16 and lives in a poor village in El Salvador. For years he was a beneficiary of our school meals programs in his community where he received a daily, nutritious meal. This food helped Dennys not only to overcome malnutrition, but also to stay in school. When he got a little older, Feed the Children, through support from our child sponsorship program, started a livelihood-development project in his community in the field of tailoring. Despite his dream of one day being a journalist, Dennys knew his family was too poor to ever send him to college. But when he saw the opportunity to learn a trade that could earn him some money to apply toward college—Dennys jumped at the chance!

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He enrolled in our tailoring project and quickly became one of the best and most talented students—finishing his certificate of completion with flying colors. Now Dennys makes suits, shirts, pants, uniforms, dresses—all kinds of clothing and sells them to the community. With the income he earns, he is able to help with the necessities of his family, as well as set aside some money for college. Dennys enjoys tailoring, and his excellent work is becoming sought-after in the village. The best part is that he is excited and hopeful for his future. Without this program, Dennys probably would have had to drop out of school and go to work in the fields, earning just a couple of dollars a day and being stuck in a life of abject poverty.

Click to Sponsor a Child

Merry Christmas from Around the World!

“This is your day, and we are here to celebrate with you.”

That was Rhoda Njue, Child Sponsorship Coordinator for the Feed the Children office in Kenya, speaking to children as she welcomed them to Christmas celebrations. Christmas came early for thousands of kids around the world, thanks to our dedicated staff and donors and supporters like you who made joyful celebrations and parties happen in the communities we serve.

Our mission is to provide hope and resources for those without life’s essentials. Essentials include necessities like food, clean drinking water, quality education, and a possibility for a good livelihood.

But joy is also essential.
Dignity is essential.
And for children, play is essential.

That’s why events like Christmas celebrations are so important. The children we serve are our heroes. They strive and struggle in ways that are hard for many of us to imagine. Holiday celebrations are a chance to let kids be kids, to set aside the chores, responsibilities and worries of everyday life.

You are an indispensable part of our work. When you make a gift to Feed the Children, you help ensure that we’ll be able to serve even more kids next year, giving them access to nutritious meals, sanitation, and opportunities for joy as well.

Here are just a few highlights of Christmas celebrations in our communities, with reflections written by staff in these regions.

 

HONDURAS

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Many of us spend our Christmas by giving gifts to friends, families and loved ones. Christmas is a time to spread joy and smiles, and Feed the Children does this in our sponsored communities. The celebrations started early this year, because some areas are so remote and hard to access when it rains–the rivers overflow, making it impossible to access some communities.

In the Nueva Esperanza community, some 99 children enjoyed a festive meal of fried chicken, rice, apples and salad.

And at the Community of La Cumbre Palmichal, more than 300 children were given a t-shirt, an apple, a bag of candy, and a healthy meal.

The glow on the childrens’ faces was memorable, as many of them don’t celebrate Christmas this time of year. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our wonderful sponsors and donors. Thank you.

-Mayra Humphrey

 

KENYA

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Christmas came early for over 7,000 school children from 61 schools in Kajiado, Samburu, Turkana and Nairobi Counties. The celebrations were held on different days in November and early December before the close of the academic year, to celebrate kids under the Child Sponsorship program.

Elation was in the air as children performed, played games, and enjoyed specially prepared meals. Participating schools also received presents from Feed the Children, to great excitement from the kids.

And at the Dagoretti Children’s Center and Abandoned Baby Center, holidays are celebrated all month long with a whole calendar of activities, including a bounce castle, face painting, special story time, and BBQ and hot dogs on New Year’s Eve.

-Edna Onchiri

 

GUATEMALA

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Throughout the month of December, the Guatemalan team has been celebrating Christmas with the children in all thirteen of our communities. For some, we received donations of Domino’s Pizza to share with the children. They were so excited—many of the children rarely get to eat pizza!

In other communities, the mothers pitched in some money and with help from Feed the Children, made tamales, which are traditional to eat during Christmas. In a few communities we were accompanied by volunteers who dressed as clowns and helped organize games and do face-painting with the children. All in all we had a lot of fun and hope we helped these children enjoy a special day. More than 1,690 were benefited in our communities.

-Claire Mocha

 

EL SALVADOR

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When we think about celebrating Christmas, we think about what we can do for those we love: the hours spent shopping for gifts for loved ones; the extravagantly-prepared Christmas dinners we will share with our families. But it isn’t the same for people the world over. During these seasons, it is easy to forget that not everyone can take these comforts for granted the way we do. Some people around the world still live without access to reliable electricity and will spend Christmas in the dark. Too many parents are unable to afford a toy for their children.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

So this year in the community of La Lechera, Christmas came early, with people in El Salvador cooking for our 92 registered children on December 14th. These children were able to have a brighter Christmas with a nutritious meal and toys galore. Our field staff joined in the fun by participating in games such as three-legged race and pop-the-balloon.

Child Sponsorship Coordinator Meylin Quan was grateful for the chance to bring a little Christmas to these children on behalf of all of us: “I’m so happy because we were able to sprinkle some joy into these children’s lives.”

-Mayra Humphrey

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What will Christmas 2016 be like for these children? The answer is largely up to you. Consider sponsoring a child, or consider a gift from our catalog, or make a one-time gift to help alleviate our shortfall.

And Merry Christmas!

 

Country Spotlight: El Salvador–Hope Is Hatching

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” That’s why our international development work centers around four pillars: Food & Nutrition, Health & Water, Education, and Livelihoods.

When children are hungry and malnourished, the need is urgent: to fill their bellies and get them the nutrition they need to grow healthy and strong. But we know we can’t stop with the Food & Nutrition pillar:

How can that health be sustained?
Through increased access to clean water and sanitation (Health & Water pillar).

How can children escape poverty?
By going to school and learning the skills needed for a successful life (Education pillar).

And how can an entire village improve their circumstances?
By receiving training and support as they learn a marketable trade (Livelihoods pillar).

Darwin is just one child who will benefit from all four of these pillars. Let’s find out how.

Food & Nutrition

Darwin is five years old and lives with his parents in a rural village in the middle of coffee country in El Salvador. His father works as a bricklayer and earns about $100 a month. It’s enough to get by—they can put food on the table—but it’s not the nutrient-rich food a growing boy needs.

Thankfully Darwin has access to a Feed the Children feeding center, where he receives a nutritious lunch each weekday. Darwin loves both the food and the children he’s met: “I feel happy because I have a lot of friends [at the feeding center], and also the food is delicious, like a restaurant!”

Health & Water

We know that nutritious meals go a long way toward keeping children healthy. And Darwin has gained 10% of his body weight since he’s starting receiving meals from the feeding center. But our involvement in Darwin’s community goes beyond food. Feed the Children also provides children five years of age and older with deworming medicine, helping prevent debilitating diseases. We also arrange for medical personnel to visit Darwin’s community on an annual basis. These personnel provide free medical care to the residents.

Education

At age five, Darwin is not old enough to attend school, but his parents are excited for him to go when it’s time. Darwin’s village has a school that serves some 360 students in twelve classrooms. In El Salvador, uniforms are required, but they are provided by the government. Through assistance from donors and corporate partners, Feed the Children can steps in with backpacks and other necessary items so kids have what they need to learn and succeed in school.

Darwin loves animals and dreams of becoming a veterinarian.
Darwin loves animals and dreams of becoming a veterinarian.

Darwin loves animals and would like to become a vet some day. With Feed the Children’s support of him, plus hard work and luck, these dreams can become a reality.

Livelihoods

El Salvador has a 16.2% rate of unemployment. We’re tackling that statistic in many different ways, but in Darwin’s village, that means fish. About a year ago, we helped develop a tilapia hatchery in the community. We work with the mothers who work at the feeding center, providing training and coursework about how to manage the hatchery for their own food as well as a means of generating income. This project has helped Darwin’s family and many others by providing knowledge and new approaches to improve their quality of life.

We aren’t just teaching one person to fish—we’re providing support to an entire community so that fishing can be the backbone of a sustainable economy. Darwin benefits, but so do many others.

It would be easy to give food to Darwin and children like him and then stop there. But we’re not content with easy answers and half steps. We want to create a world where no child goes to bed hungry. And we believe that when we all pitch in, hunger has an expiration date. Get to know more about the four pillars here and how you can get involved here.

 

Country Spotlight: El Salvador–Kenia Dreams of Shoes

For our next installment of this month’s focus on El Salvador, we’d like you to meet Kenia.

Kenia lives with her parents and her six siblings. The children range in age from nineteen to one—and at age nine, Kenia is right in the middle. Her father has a job, but not a steady one—as a bricklayer, he may earn about $75 a month. Kenia’s oldest sister also works cleaning homes, and brings in a little more than that.

It’s not much for a family of nine. But through luck, hard work and resourcefulness, they make it work. They live together in a small adobe, bamboo and plastic house that’s been in their family for fifty years. The house has electricity but no running water, which means Kenia’s mother spends untold hours hauling water for the household each day. Kenia has one pair of shoes, a pair of synthetic leather shoes donated by the government. She only wears them for school—they’ll last longer that way.

Kenia’s parents are able to put basic meals on the table. But these meals don’t always have the nutrition that Kenia and her siblings need to be healthy in body and mind. Breakfast might be tortillas with beans, or eggs if they’re available. Lunch is often a soup based on seasonal leaves and berries foraged near the home—spinach, blackberries, or chipilin, a legume common in Central America. Dinner is tortillas with salt and lemon, or beans again.

“My mom used to be very sad every day because my sisters, brothers and me didn’t have enough food to eat three times a day,” Kenia says. It made Kenia feel weak not to have enough food in her belly.

Kenia’s story is common in El Salvador. Overall, the national percentage of malnutrition is 19%, but the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that some areas of El Salvador have malnutrition rates approaching 50%.

Thankfully, Kenia and her school-age siblings benefit from a Feed the Children feeding center at her school. It was ten years ago that this partnership began with a group of mothers whom Feed the Children helped mobilize to provide a nutrient-rich hot meal every school day. Today the mothers continue to be the backbone of the program, coming together to prepare and serve meals to some 100 children.

The community also benefits from a community greenhouse that helps provide vegetables to cook in the feeding center, which saves money. Feed the Children brings in medical personnel to the community each year so people can receive annual checkups. And children older than 6 years of age receive medicine to prevent intestinal parasites.

Kenia with her favorite toy, a teddy bear named Daniel
Kenia with her favorite toy, a teddy bear named Daniel

With the support of Feed the Children, and the community development work Feed the Children has fostered, Kenia and her peers can grow and thrive. Kenia dreams of working in an office someday, perhaps as a secretary. After getting by with one pair of shoes for so long, she wants to have enough money to buy “pretty shoes.” For some, that might see like a modest dream. But for Kenia, it’s a sign of success and a better life.

Thanks to everyone who supports Feed the Children—through your donations, children like Kenia can dream their dreams and work to achieve them. With your help, hunger has an expiration date. Learn more about our work and how you can be involved.

 

Country Spotlight: El Salvador — An Interview with Ricardo Candray

This month we begin a new feature on our blog, Country Spotlight. In addition to our general blog content, each month we will be sharing a series of articles about one of our ten partner countries. We hope our Country Spotlight will give readers a deeper picture of the work we do around the world.

We kick things off with a focus on El Salvador and an interview with Country Director Ricardo Alcides Candray Menendez, who joined Feed the Children in 1991. Special thanks to Mayra Humphrey and Meylin Quan for conducting the interview.

How did you first get into this work? Why focus on children specifically? The opportunity arrived at the right time. I was called for an interview and found out this was my true calling. I decided to focus on children, first of all because I have children of my own. I have never had to see them go through hard times—so the passion started thanks to my children. But I also feel whole when I see the smiles on the faces of the children we serve, because I know that at least they had a decent meal on that day.

What motivates you in your work? Is there a person, story or statistic that gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you going? What motivates me is being able to help children, mothers, families and communities. There is a child that I met a long time ago. His name is Edwin, from the community of El Refugio. His father suffered from alcoholism, so he looked up to me as a father figure. Edwin is now all grown up, because we gave him an opportunity [to grow and thrive]. So every child I meet in a community reminds me of Edwin.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing children and families in El Salvador, and how does Feed the Children address those challenges? Some of the biggest challenges are poverty, hunger, unemployment and health. Feed the Children’s four-pillar approach helps address these challenges. In fact we do much more than provide food—we teach and empower children, parents, care providers, and their communities to reverse malnutrition and defeat hunger. The four pillars of our child-focused community-development program are Food & Nutrition, Health & Water, Education, and Livelihoods.

*IMG_5484Is there a recent story you can share about the work being done in El Salvador on behalf of children? We recently have been receiving donations from Vitamin Angels. Now children below the ages of 5 are receiving Vitamin-A supplementation, and the mothers that are pregnant are also receiving prenatal vitamins, which makes me really happy because this vitamin helps with vision, particularly in low light. Chronic deficiency can cause blindness.

What’s one misconception people in the United States might have about El Salvador? What would you want us to know about this country? The most common misconception is that only delinquents and gangs live in this country. We would like for people to know Salvadorians are nice, responsible and hardworking people. Not all the population are wrongdoers. Millions of Salvadorians love their country and believe in God.

Just for fun:

Interests and hobbies: Soccer

Favorite vacation destination: United States

Favorite restaurant: “Mariscos Beto” ( Beto’s Shrimp)

Favorite scripture: Philippians 4:13

Favorite American city: Pasadena

Favorite song/artist: Marcos Witt

What did you want to be when you were 6 years old?: Teacher

Top 3 on your bucket list: Go to Africa; Get involved in a mission to help evangelize people; That all of my family is converted to believing in God and Jesus Christ.

Your favorite day at Feed the Children so far? In October 2013 when we received a donation to build our new feeding center in the community of La Labor.

 

Championing One Child at a Time: Gerardo in El Salvador

At Feed the Children, we feed 350,000 kids every school day internationally. And on paper, it’s a large number. But in the midst of all the numbers we never want to forget the one child.’

In our logo, the “i” in the word “children” is lower case while the rest of the word is uppercase. It’s a great reminder for us all of us that we’re championing one child at a time.

Today, we want to tell you about one child named Gerardo from El Salvador.

ApgH1NxbYR-U3tGac0oR2U6mK8GMqbNIqUJl61BKq0QTen year old Gerardo lives with his aunt because his mother migrated to Guatemala to look for a job opportunity.

Gerardo lives in a small house located in the middle of a large plot of land. His house is made of cinder block the roof of zinc and the floors of bricks and tin doors.

Inside of Gerardo’s house, there’s a small living room, two bedrooms (one for Gerardo and one for his aunt, they sleep on a small and old mattress). They cook their meals over a firewood oven made of adobe. Their curtains over the windows are made of plastic bags.

Gerardo has electricity in his home but has to go outside to find a toilet.

Gerardo’s family income is around $80.00 US per month. This income mostly comes from his aunt’s work of selling eggs and tilapia to her neighbors.

Gerardo says, “Sometimes there is nothing to eat at home.”

But his story changes when he comes to school. At school, he receives a hot meal every day at the Feed the Children feeding center. His favorite foods to eat are: soy meat, beans with cheese and eggs.

When asked to explain more, Gerardo told a Feed the Children staffer: “I enjoy all the food that the Feeding Center gives me every day, it is delicious. I am so happy for that and when I am at the feeding center I feel that I am with my family.”

After lunch, he plays and laughs with his friends. He’s excited about learning. His favorite subject is Language and he loves reading.

His aunt says Gerardo now dreams about his future.

rU_7_wIkCQaGyyCxupnHXsCjjhv-6MH9H7DMMRpF6hkWhen he grows up, he wants to be a policeman because he does not like injustice. He wants to make a difference in his community. He wants to keep people safe.

Besides receiving food at school, his community now has a greenhouse and tilapia project, which teaches mothers in the community, like Gerardo’s aunt, about how to feed their families more nutritious food. Gerardo’s aunt says these Feed the Children projects have unified the community. Together, they are now pulling all of their resources together to make a better life for all of the children.

We asked Gerardo what he would like to say to his child sponsor and other Feed the Children donors, “Thank you Feed the Children for all the help you gave to me and my aunt. All the food is delicious.”

We are encouraged by the stories of kids like Gerardo and are reminded by the words of Mother Teresa who said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

We can all help one child. We can all help champion kids like Gerardo.

To learn more about child sponsorship in El Salvador, click here.

Why We Advocate for Ester

At Feed the Children, we focus our work on things that will help kids be kids. That means all kids. Not just kids in a certain country. Not just kids from a particular faith. Not just kids of a given ethnicity. Not just kids with specific ability.

When we say we have a mission to provide hope and resources for those without life’s essentials, that’s what we mean. No exclusions.

But that’s easier said than done for kids like Ester.

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Ester is a happy 10-year-old—you’ll often see her with a smile. She lights up when she’s with her friends and cousins, or when she’s watching her family’s ducks waddle and peck, or when she’s listening to a good story.

Ester lives in the economically depressed community of Quezalapa 2, El Salvador, about 16 miles outside of the capital city, San Salvador. The community’s diet is based on rice, beans, vegetables, eggs, and tortillas, but Ester’s family can only afford to eat once a day, and most of their meals are limited to tortillas and beans—hardly the building blocks for a healthy child.

Most of the areas of the community have piped water service at home, but during the summer months, the water shortage reduces the service to only once every six days. But even that would be better than the non-potable water Ester’s family has to work with. They live on the edge of a ravine, where no public services reach.

The family is large and close-knit, 13 of them in all. Ester lives with her parents and little sister in a tiny house on the same land as her cousins and aunt, but they essentially live together—the kids all call each other brother and sister. Their houses are made of adobe and bamboo walls, sheet metal roofs, and dirt floors. They don’t have electricity or toilets—outside of the houses there is a latrine that they share with three neighbors.

But they’re a family, and that means they do everything they possibly can for each other.

Ester’s siblings and cousins learn and eat every school day at the center that Feed the Children runs in their community—but she has to stay home. Ester has cerebral palsy.

She doesn’t have the strength to hold objects in her hands, so she can’t feed herself. She can’t walk, so she’s wheelchair bound. And although her mind is absolutely there, Ester can’t speak. So her disability prevents her from attending a regular school. And unlike the resources available for kids with disabilities in the U.S., there are no accommodations, no special schools, and no affordable therapies for Ester in Quezalapa.

The areas where free therapy is provided for people with disabilities are out of reach for Ester. The main road that leads to San Salvador is inaccessible for her family: They would have to carry her 2.5 miles from the edge of the ravine, up an extremely rocky, twisting path. And even if they made it all that way to the road, they might have a very long wait for the sole bus that serves their community, which could very well be too full to accommodate her wheelchair. Besides, who can really choose bus fare over food?IMG_7970

So while Ester’s dad works as a farmer, earning around $2 a day, her mom and aunt take care of her at home. Ester loves the “home therapy” her mom gives her while she’s getting her dressed each day. She massages Ester’s hands, legs, and feet to relax her always-tensed muscles and to prevent blood clots from forming. She cleans and feeds her, and she’s deeply grateful for the meal that comes for Ester at noon:

“I’m happy because you are a big help for us. It’s very difficult for us to get food for this big family, and before you came we didn’t have a way to provide the nutritious food that you provide to our children.”

When Ester’s cousins come home from the feeding center, they bring her meal back with them. Because we fortify food at our center with vitamins and nutrients that kids need to grow healthy and strong, Ester’s mom has help in battling her daughter’s malnutrition.

“Thank you, Feed the Children, for the food—this is a blessing from you and from God, and I hope you can keep helping us with our children.”IMG_7986

We want to keep helping Ester until she doesn’t need help anymore, but with the limitations of her disability, that could mean her whole life. So that’s why we do more than just provide food.

At Feed the Children, we pursue advocacy initiatives that get us closer to our vision to create a world where no child goes to bed hungry. We are a global family, and that means we do everything we possibly can for each other.

One of our recent advocacy campaigns is the Disability Treaty. The Americans with Disabilities Act is the gold standard for the non-discrimination, equality of opportunity, accessibility, and inclusion for children and adults with disabilities, and the Disability Treaty is a 130-country-strong push to get those same protections for people worldwide.

According to the U.S. Department of State, “The challenge now is to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of the Treaty for the benefit of the world’s one billion disabled people.”

As our staff has written about the Disability Treaty here in greater depth, the U.S.’s ratification of the treaty would provide greater accommodations for those with special needs around the world. So Feed the Children speaks up in Washington, and we urge you to do the same, wherever you are.

We are advocates for Ester. We are advocates for all kids. And they need you to be an advocate too. Click here to learn more about how you can use your voice to help kids be kids!

Water Equals Life

The numbers are staggering. The UN talks about “the bottom billion” — that’s billion with a B. This is the segment of the world’s population that urgently needs access to clean water and sanitation services and electricity.

According to UNWater:

“Worldwide, 1.3 billion people cannot access electricity, 768 million people lack access to improved water sources, and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation. Water and energy have crucial impacts on poverty alleviation.”

world water day infographic

It can be difficult to wrap our minds around numbers as large as these. Hundreds of millions of people…a couple of billion people — this sounds impossible.

When a problem seems too big, we focus on the individuals, families, and communities where clean water and sanitation have changed (and saved) lives.

water line blog crop

In most of the communities served by Feed the Children in Central America, families do not have daily access to running water. They have to walk long distances to rivers or springs to get water to drink, cook, wash clothes, and bathe. Most of them do not have toilets; instead, they use latrines that they can’t clean with water.

water on heads blog crop

We can do something about this, one community at a time, one school at a time. We’re bringing clean water and sanitation to people who have suffered from parasites, diarrhea, and other water-borne illnesses their entire lives.

Jeimy in hospital crib blog

In the community of Jardines del Norte in Honduras, children used to become so malnourished from the parasites living in their bodies that they had to be admitted to the hospital for months at a time.

Jeimy is the youngest of seven children born to Karen and Juan. Her father has been unable to find a steady job, and her mother stays home to care for the children. When Jeimy was four months old, she became so desperately ill that she was admitted to a nutrition center. It took seven months for her to become stable. Today she is almost two years old and already has logged numerous visits to the hospital emergency room for treatment for multiple parasites.

hands and water blog

In addition to helping provide Jeimy the medication and nutrition she needs to remain stable, Feed the Children recently helped her community dig a well. The well is located at the perimeter wall of the community school, and the entire community is able to fill jugs and buckets of water to use for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

It is still a far cry from the indoor plumbing we take for granted in our own homes, but children and their families are grateful to have a secure, reliable, and safe source of water available.

girl water pitcher blog crop

Today, many other improvements are visible in this community. Men attend a carpentry school in a nearby community where they learn to build sturdy and beautiful furniture. The school provides hot meals five days a week to children who did not have a reliable source of food before. None of this could have happened without safe drinking water.

Bryan drinking water blog

We are repeating the same story all over the region. Feed the Children–El Salvador has installed running water in the community of El Guayabo, improving the status of an entire school of 600 children. In the community of La Labor,  Feed the Children–El Salvador installed a water filter to provide access to potable water for 150 children and their families.

This World Water Day, take a moment to consider how you could help bring water and change the life of one of the “bottom billion.”