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Give rural children access to nutrition and healthcare

ID:
4041

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Our goal
Provide food and critical medical and dental attention to approximately 1000 at-risk children
The Challenge

OUR MESSAGE

As Maya Angelou (USA poet) said, “people may forget what you said and may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.

And this is our mission, to make the children feel that they are important and have an opportunity.

Current Situation

There is a current sanitary and nutritional emergency in several communities throughout Argentina. The difficult task of providing critical medical services to these areas threatens the lives of an entire generation of children. This situation is aggravated by the lack of sanitary and education attention, the irregular or scarce government aid, and the precarious infrastructure located in places with difficult accesses due to their geography and climate. In addition, because many of the schools and areas do not have electricity and therefore no refrigerators, the variety of food is limited. 

Children living with food insecurity lack a stable and reliable means of getting the meals they need. Communities under the poverty line are extremely vulnerable to hunger, unable to provide what children need to grow and learn. It is critical to understand that the food the underprivileged children receive at the schools through our projects is usually  their only daily meal.

(One of the schools is pictured below - located in the middle of the jungle – in the Province of Misiones)

Our Project 

This project's objective is to continue carry on annual  pediatricians and dentists' visit to 21 schools located in 7 different province in Argentina, provide food and critical medical and dental attention to approximately 1000 at-risk children.

Your help supports periodic medical examinations helping children fulfill their hopes of a bright and healthy future. This project will cover annual expenses to provide pediatric service and food for schools located in Jujuy (4), Salta (2), Misiones (4), Santiago del Estero(2), Catamarca (2), Chaco (5), Entre Rios (2) . Note: (number of schools in each Argentinian’ province).

Through periodic medical visits we provide nutritional complements to targeted children. They are enrolled in an annual health care control plan that facilitates the nutrition and growth follow-up. Our doctors teach the children and their families about preventive health care that promotes better habits within the community and they also provide medical treatment. 

In summary, your support of this project enables us  to:

·        Provide medical and dental assistance to each targeted community. Groups are coordinated in Bs As, and each travel covers the communities in a province. Completion of 6 health fairs in total among targeted communities throughout the year

·        Reduce malnutrition (due to low quantity, quality and variety of food and lack nutritional education.)

·        Reduce sickness through improved hygiene training and annual medical and dental visits.  ,

All above, in conjunction with other projects run by our organization, such as those that  provide clean drinking water, have  dramatically decreased extreme cases and infant mortality in those places we have been able to reach so far.

Expected Outputs:

·        General medical / dentists revision for children in each community.

·        Improvement of weight and high indicators among children

·        Decrease malnutrition incidence among targeted school aged children by providing nutritive daily meals

·        Improvement of academic performance and cognitive development among children

·        Distribution of goods, including food, school supplies, clothes and household items

Annual Coverage Summary

Province / City

Travel Duration in Days

Total School visited during travel

Distance from Buenos Aires in Miles

Children

Members and volunteers (coordination and general activities)

Doctors and Nurses

Salta y Jujuy / Rosario de la Frontera and La Quiaca

7

6

1399

310

3

5

Entre Rios / Las Masitas

3

2

372

57

3

4

Santiago del Estero / Tala Atun and Taco Atun

5

2

869

177

4

4

Chaco / Pampa del Indio

5

5

776

262

4

4

Catamarca /Andalgala and Aconquija

5

2

658

28

3

4

Misiones  / El Soberbio, Pindo Poti and El Yeyi

5

4

807

142

4

4

TOTAL   21   976    

Budget highlights:

  • Travel distance from Bs As to remote zones varies from 700 miles to 1800 miles
  • Doctors, Dentist, Nurses and Organization's members are volunteers and provided the services for free.
  • Sometimes the group includes other specialist: antivenin serum (capturing local spiders and snakes).
  • Organization’ member use their cars for transportation.
  • Part of the food and other donations (clothes, school supplies, hygiene supplies, toys, etc.) are received (for free) and carried from Buenos Aires to the schools.
  • Approximately 50% of the expenses are related to travel (mainly gasoline, tolls, and travel meals),
  • There are few hotel bills because usually doctors, nurses and organization members will sleep in the schools they visit.
  • The remaining  50% of project expenses are to purchase food and hygiene supplies and first aid medicines

2015 Overview - Pictures and Videos - Pediatric Services - In Spanish

Our Organization

We help underprivileged children in remote zones of Argentina. The children we work with live in villages where resources are limited and access to basic human needs such as drinkable water, electricity and medical care are not guaranteed. They walk barefoot  5 to 8 km  to school and consider themselves lucky if they get one meal a day.

Our organization works by leveraging and complementing members’ talents. We seek to optimize what we have: those intangible assets  we have acquired through our personal and professional lives, and  our enjoyment in providing at-risk children better quality of life.

Since our visits started in 2005, nutrition deficiencies have dropped 60%, cavities 54% and common skin diseases 25%. Preventive health care education combined with balanced nutrition produced results that can be measured not only statistically, but also provide opportunity for brighter futures. Our integrated Health, Nutrition and Education program is indeed essential for these children to have a chance at opportunity. (Note: the statistics are based on the pediatricians’ and dentists’ thorough records on every child treated during each annual visit.) 

We built these results the hard way, by  learning from our failures .

When we started in 2005, the needs we saw caused  us to react with urgency.   Sometimes that was a mistake: Children were dying due to malnutrition. We provided food for them, but they could not eat it because the conditions of their oral hygiene did not even allow them to chew.

Working with our team and other nonprofit organizations, we were able to get dentists and physicians to come treat them, but the problems just kept on unfolding. We soon realized that there were parasites in the soil that the children, who lacked shoes, were being exposed to. So we provided shoes for them, and also shoe-manufacturing capability so they could repair and create more shoes on their own.  Even then, children continued to die because they were also drinking contaminated water during their long walks from and to school back.

We were also able to drill and provide safe, clean drinking water. Thanks to all these continuous efforts, in the last eight years not a single child in the communities we have reached has died due to malnutrition, parasites or contaminated water. 

(One of the drinkable water drills - located down in the jungle, there are not roads to reach the village – in the Province of Misiones). Special preparation work was required to allow the truck  went down and reach the place where the installation was done)

From these eleven years of experience and determination we learned there is no short-term or one-time solution, and there are realities and challenges that we can neither imagine nor anticipate.

We learned to listen more, to be more patient and comprehensive, so we can understand the unique combination of specifics of each situation, in each place, and truly meet the people and their needs. This helped us a lot, especially to define how to work with and bond with each community (these are primarily  native Argentinian communities with different cultures and native languages, e.g. QOM/Tobas, Wichis, Coyas), We also work with other organizations in order to provide assistance in an integrated manner, seeking long-term solutions to the problems facing rural schools, nourishment centers and foster homes in remote locations through Argentina.

Since 2005,  pediatric visits have reached more than 7000 at-risk children  and their communities  We provided food and critical medical and dental attention and taught fundamental health care throughout 15 provinces of Argentina (a total of approximately  100 communities)

Sumando Manos Foundation - Official Web Site

In several cases, children will receive these medical, dentist services and vaccination for the first time ever.

Chain Reaction: Understanding the difference between Results and Impact

Letter from School 373's Principal - 8 years receiving support from Sumando Manos Foundation

"This is our story: The school, which consists of a room located in the middle of the jungle, began 19 years ago with an enrollment of 70 students. Over time and due to the lack of support for the institution and the community, families began to keep children working in the field rather than send them to school. Some families even left the community in search of opportunities that did not exist in the area. This exodus resulted in an enrollment of just 5 children and the teacher, in this situation, the teacher left the school from which it was part.

That was the situation that I found when I was appointed as new responsible for the school.

8 years ago we were blessed when Summing Manos Foundation appeared in our lives, from that moment a lot of things changed thanks to the help and support you  provide to our community and our school.
7 years ago the roof and floors of the school was changed. In our geographical location and as a result of extreme weather, this change can mean the difference between life and death of children. This fact is revealed when to remove the old roof nests of deadly spiders are just a few meters from the head of our children.
6 years ago our dream came true! Drinking water!! Another key change that made a big difference in our lives.  The entire surrounding community benefited in dry season and our children don’t die from malnutrition due to contaminated water borne diseases.
5 years ago the little workshop was installed with machines for making shoes and clothes.  We received the  raw materials and an instructor to learn how to work them. Not only we got the opportunity to learn another job, because otherwise the only option for our kids' future is the work of the field, but the shoes we produce are  lifesavings. Barefoot children are infected with parasites that live in the soil and generating child malnutrition related diseases.
You delivered a generator that allowed the installation of electrical appliances and a computer. Last year thanks to your collaboration we were able to complete our organic garden project.
All of the above meant a great transformation. The constant donations that help for many needs and problems, also attracted the kids back to school. Enrollment rose to 42 boys. We were in a place forgotten and far away, but all the help we receive for years allowed us to learn and understand a word so important, the most important, even unknown for us: LOVE.
Once one of the doctors asked to to  our children, what they wanted to be when they grow up. They did not understand the question because, in their heads, there was not  an idea of ​​having options or possibilities.
Involvement and commitment shown by you and all the people who help through your organization give us hope and made our kids feel they are important.
THANK YOU!
Osvaldo Bordon
Principal
School # 373, Location: El Boton (El Soberbio, Misiones, Argentina)"

Call to Action

Many times we look at situations from our perspective, based on our experience and knowledge  we assume things and take them as given. But if we change the context, that knowledge may not be useful, or  sometimes a  simple and trivial  situation can a become very complex one..

Among the many cases treated during the last years, I would like to share the story about 2 children.

During a routine revision done by our doctors at rural schools in Santiago del Estero, the following  two cases were  detected and carefully treated by them.  One child with a hot coal burn (wood stove) and the other child with a boiling water burn.

A domestic accident like a burn, can be treated quickly in a city, but  when this happens in an isolated  community without infrastructure and access to cover their basic needs, one simple burn can lead to an infection, gangrene and even the death of the child.

Our doctors saved their lives. Here are their pictures:

By pledging, you become part of this project. Please join us in continue working to make this project possible.  Because you will become part of this project, we will of course share with you the results and introduce you to the children that this project helps.  Come along (virtually) and let’s change lives together. 

Official Song. Gift from Makai Group and Luis Fandino. (In Spanish with subtitles in English)