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Olla Nutricional

One of the most common health problems in the villages where we work is malnutrition. Even villagers who have a job often simply lack the money to feed their large families (ten or fifteen children is not considered uncommon), and the problem is intensified by widespread parasites and tropical fevers, as well as the lack of education and primary health care services in remote villages. 

In villages where malnutrition is particularly widespread, Vamos Adelante has also set up school feeding programs and lunch kitchens, "Ollas Nutricionales". The school feeding programs do not only give the children an extra nutritional boost, but also encourage villagers to send their sons and daughters to school every day. 

The Olla Nutricional

The "Olla Nutricional" program currently provides basic food items (particularly milk, rice and beans) and nutritional supplements three times per week to hundreds of children, adults and elderly people in three villages. Our health care promoters work together with local nutritionists to weigh and measure all program participants on a monthly basis and offer treatment (including extended hospitalization for the most vulnerable infants) to the families. Our health care promoters also visit them in their homes regularly to follow their progress.

This program has seem great success in the first village in which an Olla Nutricional was established seven years ago, in 2002. Most participants in this program have returned to "normal" weight, adults have regained enough strength to be able to work again, and students have shown signs of improved concentration in school.  Vamos Adelante continues extending this program to additional villages.

An example of our work on nutrition:

When Clara was five, her mother died. Having never known her father, the little girl was left an orphan and spent several years being passed around from family member to family member. Clara was not adjusting well to her loss and seemed to sense that she was a burden on her relatives, most of whom were struggling to keep their own large families fed and clothed. Clara began losing weight rapidly and was brought to us a near-skeleton with open sores on her body. Vamos Adelante offered Clara's family the option of placing her in a specialized hospital nutrition ward to save the girl's life. After spending several months regaining her strength with the help of caring doctors and nutritionists, Clara was able to return to her village. Vamos Adelante offered to help one of her aunts with basic food and household supplies each month if she took the girl in permanently and promised to care for her properly. Clara's aunt began attending Vamos Adelante's basic health & hygiene sessions twice a month, and with our help managed to get Clara back to a normal weight. Today, Clara is eight years old and attends the first grade at her village's elementary school. Vamos Adelante's local health care promoter still visits the family regularly at home (in addition to giving health & hygiene classes), and ensures that the continued food and household supplies are benefiting the little girl and that she is developing well.