Even though Guatemala is very rich in natural resources, food availability is a serious problem. 24% of children under five are underweight and 46% suffer stunted growth. But this year, a new chef is helping us fight malnutrition at the School of Hope.
Guatemala is the biggest economy in Central America and also one of the most unequal countries in the world. Even though it’s very rich in natural resources, food availability is poor due to vulnerability to environmental factors and inadequate agricultural and economic policies. Nutritional problems caused by an insufficient diet can affect a generation of youngsters, reducing their capacity to learn and compromising their futures, thus perpetuating a generational cycle of poverty.
Malnutrition can reduce learning capacities and compromise our students' futures.
Many of our students receive little food at home. Healthy and nutritious school meals are vital to the wellbeing of these children, helping with their physical development, keeping them focused on their studies and enabling them to reach their potential. We talked to Erick Chivichon, our new School Chef, to find out more about how he’s making our meals even more nutritious!
“We can’t rely on what they eat at home, some of them might have a sufficient breakfast and dinner, but others may only eat some tortillas”, admits Erick, while busily preparing the kids’ lunch. “Our goal is not only to avoid malnutrition but also to improve their eating habits by making them more used to fruits and vegetables, which they don’t get so much of at home.”
"Our goal is not only to avoid malnutrition but also to improve their eating habits by making them more used to fruits and vegetables."
At the school, the children receive two meals: a snack and lunch, which is made up of 1/3 carbohydrates (rice, pasta, tortillas), 1/3 protein (different kinds of meat) and 1/3 vegetables.
Keeping the kids interested in the meals can be a challenge for the Kitchen Team, since children may not eat their food if they get too much of the same. “I need to get very creative because we have only a limited variety of food available, since it depends on the donations we get. This year we really changed the menus and the sizes of portions depending on each grade.”
“Working here inspires me to do my best for the children, I’m very thankful for this opportunity,” says Erick, smiling.