In Camarines Norte, Philippines, the M. Guinto Elementary School leaders faced a big problem with many students—malnutrition.
Out of the 130 students, 38 children (ages 6 to 10) came to class each day weakened by not having enough food to eat.
The school got funding from the government for one meal per week for each child—but it wasn’t enough. The school feared having this many children suffering from malnourishment. Studies have shown that malnourishment exponentially increases mortality risk in young children. It also places children at risk for delayed cognitive and psychomotor development.
But God had plans for these students. During a values lesson done by the Union Church of Manila—a Food for the Hungry (FH) partner—Agnes Acal, the elementary school nutritionist, approached the church about working with FH. She explained how so many students were suffering and needed help.
The church, school and FH teamed together to create a 60-day feeding program to get the 38 students back up to a healthy body weight. The program also included an education segment for the children’s parents.
The first day of the program, staff measured the Body Mass Index (BMI) of malnourished students. As children received nutritious meals five days a week, the students started gaining weight. Children and their parents sat in sessions on nutrition, hygiene and other ways to stay healthy.
After three months, staff measured the children’s BMI again. All of the children were at healthy weights and no longer malnourished. It was 100 percent successful.
Now, instead of coming to school fatigued with their stomachs aching from lack of food, 38 students are at a healthy weight and able to concentrate on their school work. Their immune systems are well-functioning.
Agnes says, “FH’s program was a really a big blessing. After the 2013 school year, our school has zero undernourished students and all were normal in their BMI.”
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