Malnutrition in Venezuela is one of the most serious risks reported by international organisations such as UNICEF andCARITAS. It is particularly dangerous in young children since, unlike adults, it can have an irreversible effect on their health. According to a recent report from the World Food Program, more than 9 million Venezuelans suffer from acute food-insecurity As a consequence of the deep economic recession and the hyperinflation of the last five years a third of the population has suffered a total loss of income. The disintegration of health services and mass exodus of health workers disproportionately affected the most vulnerable and threatened their nutrition status.Economic hardship has intensified due to the Covid-19 crisis.
This is why through since early 2019 we work with the Venezuelan foundation Pabellón con Arepa offering breakfast and lunch five days a week to 145 children between the ages of3 to 6. The programme, led by José Gregorio Velásquez, a Venezuelan professional strongly committed to the wellbeing of our children, runs from the Cacique Maturín and El Porvenir schools in the area of La Vega.
More recently we have also started a programme with Caritas in a rural village, Guaraunos, in Sucre state, where we offer lunch and a healthy snack to 88 children between 0 – 5 years old. Among this group 5 children suffer from acute malnutrition. The help we provide is indispensable, and we need to do more. One of our short-term goals is to extend this programme to older children. The food programme in Guaraunos would not have been possible without the invaluable help from our volunteer and friend, José RamónBetancourt who, thanks to a personal effort, was also able to partially equip the kitchen. This programme also has the additional effect of decreasing school drop-out since mothers who previously could not send their children to school for not being able to feed them, now can count on the support of Healing Venezuela.
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