Alleviation of childhood malnutrition in Argentina
Organized by: Rachelle Jacoby
Malnutrition is defined as a person not getting the right nutrients they need to live everyday- the person can be extremely skinny or can be classified as obese. If malnutrition is not addressed within the first 2 years of life, the child’s brain will start to atrophy and they will develop PERMANENT brain damage.
In the slums of Argentina, many of the mothers aren't educated and don't know about healthy eating. They think that it is acceptable to feed their kids’ chips, soda, candy, and any other processed food you can think of. I'm sad to say that more than once, I've seen a baby drinking out of a bottle filled with coca-cola or gatorade.
My volunteer organization, ACER CONIN (www.acer.org.ar), uses a multidisciplinary team of sociologists, nutritionists, social workers, kindergarten teachers, pediatricians, early stimulators, and psychologists, among others to effectively combat childhood malnutrition. The center has 2 goals-- stimulate the children’s brains to increase synaptic connections and educate the mothers about nutrition and healthy food preparation.
Argentinians, though concerned about solidarity, do not practice a culture of giving money, instead, a donation of goods is a more established practice. Therefore, it is very hard for organizations to secure monetary funding from businesses in Argentina and because of this, and the constant inflation, my organization is never sure how long they can keep their doors open. Each month, my organization struggles to find money to pay the salaries of the professionals providing education and therapy to the children and mothers.
Being here in Argentina with this organization, has not only taught me about childhood malnutrition, but has actually changed my career path. This campaign is a way to say thank you to them, but more importantly, to give to a cause that I really believe in.