While it is not our intention to start a social welfare program, we just want to make it perfectly clear that many of the children you see in these pictures sometimes eat only one meal a day. They and their parents are suffering from abject poverty. They eat basically rice, cassava and little else. Other than the starchy rice, and cassava, in a lot of instances, they do not eat balanced diet. The nutritional meals they need to have daily are not possible. Even if they have enough to eat, it is a fact that their food does not have enough micronutrients such as minerals, vitamins, portein, carbohydrate, etc.; they become malnourished. Much of what these children eat is starchy food such as rice, and cassava that turn into sugar.
Many of these children end up with malnutrition and acquire problems such as digestion or absorptption. Some are affected by kwashiorkor, pellagra, rickets, scurvy, spina bifida or megaloblastic anemia and sometime, juvenile diabetes. Many of the children have deficiencies in Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B9 E and K because they are not eating the right nutritional food. Because there are no doctors in the area and the children do not have regular medical attention, some of their illnesses are never diagnosed or treated.
The task for Bless the Children Foundation is therefore, twofold. First, we must make sure that our daily snacks at the school must be prepared in such a way that it provides the children with most of the nutritians they are not reveiving in their meals at home. Second, we must help the villagers understand the importance of food and what to include in their diet to provide them with balanced diet.
To do this, there must be continuous workshops and Parents-Teachers’ conferences during which time we must try to educate the parents about the proper diet they need for themselves and for their children to keep healthy. Teaching hygiene will be one of our concerns.