In too many places around the world, there are obstacles to human flourishing. Some of them hit children from the very beginning of life—setting them back before they even have a chance to face the world.

Not getting enough nutritious food early on in life, having repeat infections, and even boredom can lead to stunting. According to the World Health Organization, this condition, marked by impaired growth and development, can result in “poor cognition and educational performance, low adult wages, lost productivity and…an increased risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases in adult life.”

In Guatemala, a harrowing 46.5% of children under the age of five are stunted (WFP). In a family with four children, that means on average two would be affected. Because of its effect on people’s adult lives, the impact of stunting is amplified.

PWS&D’s development and relief work increases access to food for many families around the world. Yet, it does not stop there. Through bringing communities together to learn about nutrition, the impact also includes helping adults and children get the most out of the food they do have.

Blanca’s Story

Blanca and her peers have learned how to embrace healthier cooking, through involvement in a PWS&D-supported program in Guatemala.

For eight years, Blanca Juárez Tomas has participated in Flor de Tuichmad’il—a women’s collective dedicated to promoting health and nutrition among her community in Guatemala. An initiative of PWS&D’s partner AMMID, Blanca shares how being involved in this group has allowed her to support her own well-being, and that of the next two generations in her family.

I am a woman, mother, wife and promoter of health and nutrition for my group. Before I became part of the women’s group Flor de Tuichmad’il…my life was very different.

Before, I did not give as much importance to nutrition for both me and my family. The foods we consumed did not have sources of protein, and we did not take into account the importance of properly washing the food that we ate.

When I started being part of the AMMID association, I learned which foods contain protein sources and the importance of hygiene at home.

Now, I avoid diseases, and I am informing my [children] to put these things into practice with my grandchildren so that they can enjoy good health.

One of the ways AMMID supports participants is through training.

I received workshops on the importance of eating food with protein sources such as vegetables, eggs, broth with amaranths, hot cereal with bananas, beef, beans, stew made with blackberry grass, fruit, and broth containing quishtan leaves together with fresh beetroot.

I have been taught other ways to prepare my food to increase the appetite of my sons and daughters, but mainly of my grandchildren who are the smallest in my home.

Excited for the way it encourages her family toward better health, Blanca highlights one thing she has found on the pages of the AMMID-provided recipe book:

The recipe my family has liked the most are beans with Incaparina [a protein-rich cereal and vegetable supplement]. I prepare them and give them to my family accompanied by fresh carrots that are sources of vitamin A.

Passing It On

Blanca is just one of many women who have embraced healthier cooking, together. Rooted in their new practices, as they prepare delicious and nutritious meals for their children and grandchildren and encourage others to do the same, they are making a difference that will last generations.