Seeds for Healthy Development in Ecuador

Reporting by Veronica Travez, ChildFund Ecuador

In Ecuador, children under 5 make up 10 percent of the total population, and 23 percent of them suffer from chronic malnutrition.

Samira's garden

Two-year-old Samira in her garden.

But in a small community north of Pichincha, we find Samira, a cheerful and lively 2-year-old girl who lives with her mother, Diana, and her grandparents, Maria and Miguel.

Maria and Diana participate in ChildFund’s early childhood development programs in their community. Diana has participated since she was pregnant, and when her baby girl was born, she already knew Samira needed the right kind of food. Maria tells us that Samira is the family’s “guinea pig” because they put into practice everything they have learned in raising her.

“My daughter does not get sick as other children do,” says Diana. “When the other children have had strong flu, she didn’t get it. She is a very healthy girl. She likes to eat soup. She really likes beans and corn, and she eats all kinds of fruits.”

Samira has access to this healthy diet thanks to another ChildFund-supported effort: Maria’s family garden. In her 30-square-meter plot, Maria cultivates a variety of fruits and vegetables. These form the basis of the family’s diet.

We hope to provide this opportunity to 70 more families in Pichincha through our Ecuador gardens Fund a Project. These endeavors assist communities with specific needs like treated mosquito nets or winterization kits.

Ecuador garden

Samira’s grandmother, Maria, grows vegetables for her family in a 30-foot plot.

With your help, the garden project will provide these families with a sustainable source of nutrition, helping to address health challenges common to this region. Each family will receive fruit and vegetable seedlings with supplies and training for growing their own gardens. Using recyclable materials and avoiding pesticides, families will create their gardens in a sustainable, safe way.

As a result, children will have better access to vitamin-rich produce, which will protect them from malnutrition and illness. And the sale of surplus fruits and vegetables will boost each family’s income by as much as $40 per month. We need about $5,000 to reach our goal to start these families on a healthier path. Please consider making a donation.

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