The sun is shining through the windows as 130 sweaty little hands clasp together in prayer before picking up spoons and digging into their breakfast. Looking around the room, you see smiles and hear giggles bubbling out of full mouths. You smell an aroma that also fills your heart with content because you know that these children are chowing down on the first of two nutritious meals of the day. This is how every day starts at Casa de Sara’s Escuelita in La Guardia, Bolivia.
Running a school in an impoverished community for several years has allowed us to see the serious impact nutrition can have on a person’s health and ability to function. While we can ensure that our students are fed every day, we are unable to ensure the same for their families and the rest of the community. We know that a child should not only be in a healthy school environment, but also in a healthy home environment. Limited income and lack of clean facilities often make it difficult for families to create such an environment for their children. To help them achieve this, we focusing on nutrition as a vehicle for creating a healthier community.
Our idea is to create a community kitchen where locally grown fruits, vegetables, and eggs are used with inexpensive staples like rice, beans, and quinoa to provide nutritious meals at an affordable cost. We envision boxing these meals and selling them to families without the income and resources to purchase, cook, and store a lot of nutritious foods. Additionally, we will create pureed foods for babies and toddlers who are often left on breast milk for too long without being introduced to solid foods due to the associated financial burden. In the process, we are also creating jobs for the local community.
We’re creating more than a boxed meal – we’re developing a sustainable solution to malnutrition in our community. Our hope is to bring the scene from Casa de Sara’s Escuelita into all the homes of La Guardia.