Catholic World Mission strives works to promote real sustainable change, now and in the future. Catholic World Mission's newest apostolic work, the Mano Amiga Nutrition Program, seeks to address the immediate physical needs of the most undernourished children at our Mano Amiga School in Puebla, Mexico. Meeting this need will help these children and their families physically and overall as the students and their families will become more productive in their activities.
The statistics are truly staggering - according to the World Bank, 53 percent of Mexico’s population is poor (living on less than $2 per day), while close to 24 percent is extremely poor (living on less than $1 per day). According to a recent Bread for the World report, 5.1 million Mexicans are undernourished and 18% of all children under the age of 5 suffer from stunting. Malnutrition and hunger are very real problems for many of the families living in Mexico today.
Mano Amiga Puebla first opened its doors in August 2006 and is situated in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the community. This school is located in an area where there are not enough schools for the increasing school-age population and serves those with the lowest income levels. Better health services, increased safety measures, access to public transportation, and the need for public recreational facilities are also needs of the residents in this area.
Currently at Mano Amiga Puebla, there is an enrollment of 127 students; 63 girls and 64 boys. Half of these students were considered “healthy” from start-of-term reports. The other half was struggling with various medical issues. A full quarter of them “never” eat breakfast before arriving at school and another quarter only eat breakfast “sometimes”. Fourteen students were determined to be malnourished at the start-of term.
In our newest pilot initiative, the Mano Amiga Nutrition Program, Catholic World Mission is seeking to provide a basic food basket for these children and their families. This will be the first project of its kind to be implemented through our Mano Amiga school program. The food baskets will consist of enough corn flour for tortillas, beans, rice, cooking oil, milk, eggs, yogurt, soup, cheese, juice and other variables to sustain a family for a week. Fruits and vegetables are also provided with the baskets.
At the beginning of the year, the fourteen malnourished students and their families began to receive these basic food baskets. By March, Catholic World Mission was able to increase our support to provide for thirty-seven of our families because of the consistency of our benefactors. All students and their families involved in our pilot program have been tracked by a nutritionist and have been supported by medical staff.
Catholic World Mission looks forward to expanding this program throughout our twenty-eight other Mano Amiga schools, located throughout Central and South America. Please visit our website directly for more information on this project or our Mano Amiga Schools program specifically. To learn more about this and other initiatives being launched by Catholic World Mission, please visit us anytime at www.catholicworldmission.org.
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