Cognitive Development for Malnourished Children in Guatemala
Organized by: Hannah Rice
Guatemala has the worst malnutrition rate in Latin America and ranks 4th in the world (WINGS). Casa Jackson, a Guatemalan clinic, provides free treatment for severely malnourished children. The physical manifestations of malnutrition are often visible; however hidden beneath the surface these children also suffer from severe cognitive delays caused by the lack of adequate nutrients. During a recent internship at Casa Jackson, we found that, sadly, there are not enough resources to aid in the mental development of the children.
We started a project while at Casa Jackson to provide mental stimulation for children undergoing nutritional care, including singing Spanish children’s songs, engaging children in applications on a tablet, hanging mobiles over cribs, and providing color matching materials (to improve vocabulary, linguistics, and hand-eye coordination). We observed the children’s reactions during these activities, and based on the increase in vocalization, use of motor skills, and interactions with sensory stimuli, the children at Casa Jackson appear to be greatly benefiting.
Unfortunately, as we left Guatemala at the end of July 2014, many of these resources are currently not available to these children, as the materials were temporary, hand-made constructions. We have individuals willing to continue working with the children, but it can only be achieved with the generous help of your donations! We would love to be able to provide the clinic with mobiles, color matching games, building blocks, and other learning materials so that the children at Casa Jackson can not only develop physically, but mentally as well.