Background situation

Approximately 70% of the Maya children are chronically malnourished. The staple diet consists of corn tortillas en black beans. Vegetables are hardly eaten. The diet lacks in vitamins and minerals and many, especially pregnant Maya women, suffer from anaemia.

What do we do?

The Guacamaya Foundation has developed an educative program that helps children develop their own vegetable garden and also increases their knowledge about chicken husbandry. The name of the program is: the mother of Juanito and Maria is ill. The program consists of 5 stories. In the first story the pregnant mother of Juanito and Maria feels sick and suffers from anaemia. Juanito and Maria hear from their uncle Carlos about chaya, a leafy vegetable that is used in Mexico to treat anaemia and other diseases.

Chaya is one of the most nutritious vegetables in the world.

Juanito and Maria not only plant chaya, but also other vegetables. They also take better care of their chickens. Maria prepares regularly a nutritious soup with a lot of vegetables for her mother and she recovers and gives birth to a healthy daughter, which is called Eva. Connected to the stories are a number of assignments about nutrition and common diseases.

As part of the program children make a little chicken coop out of bamboo. The chicken coop protects chicks against bad weather and predators and therefore decreases the present high mortality of the chicks. After the program the children receive a piece of chicken wire to make a fence and some seeds and little plants to develop their own vegetable garden. The vegetable garden improves the nutritional value of the diet and therefore the health of the children. The Guacamaya Foundation also promotes the husbandry of ducks because ducks are hardier than chickens and, therefore keeping ducks can also improve the nutritional value of the staple diet.