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Guatemala has one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition among children in the world. This is not just a matter of not enough food intake; it means that children are not receiving the proper amounts of micronutrients - the vitamins & minerals necessary for physical and mental health and development. It is imperative that children receive proper nutrition to develop to their full potential.
Ancora Ministries is working to maximize this development through nutrition programs in the rural southern region of Guatemala. But access to sufficient nutrition is only one part of the battle: From water sources contaminated with pathogens to a lack of latrines/bathrooms, to open cook fires that leave children inhaling smoke for hours each day, these families face health challenges that significantly hamper their ability to grow and develop to their full potential.
Our goal is to offer help that is otherwise unavailable to these vulnerable populations:
We believe that clean water, latrines, and safe cookstoves, combined with nutrition programs, can create the kind of impact that will change generational impact in entire communities.
Research has shown that the first 1,000 days of life - the time between conception and a child's 2nd birthday - is a unique window of opportunity when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established. While the human brain continues to develop and change throughout life, the most rapid period of brain growth and its period of highest plasticity is in the last trimester of pregnancy and the first two years of life. ("The first 1,000 days of life: The brain’s window of opportunity," Sarah Cusick, PhD and Michael K. Georgieff, MD, via Unicef)
In other words, a child's nutrition in the first 1000 days of life will have a permanent impact on his or her cognitive and physiological development.
We have 100 children enrolled in our nutrition program in the rural area outside of Cuilapa, about 50 miles south of Guatemala City, and 100 children enrolled in nutrition programs in communities in and around Guatemala City. The nutrition programs provide a daily supplement containing all of the vitamins and minerals essential to brain growth and physiological development to children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years.
We provide nearly 500 meals each month to senior citizens in San Miguel Petapa, an urban community just outside of Guatemala City. These individuals are unable to work and do not have family close by to support them.
OUR TOTAL IMPACT IN GUATEMALA