Meet Dariana, a 14-month-old girl from Guatemala. The youngest and the only girl among three older brothers, Dariana is the baby of her family. Our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), tells us, “She loves to play with a stuffed animal given to her by her oldest brother.”
“She is overall a happy child, but her height and weight for her age are both extremely low,” says WK. Dariana’s father, who works as a laborer, does not earn enough to sufficiently feed each of the children. As the youngest child, Dariana is given the least amount of food. Additionally, an incident with an expired vaccine six months ago left her appetite and energy levels low. Given these circumstances, WK tells us, “She is hitting developmental milestones later than normal.”
Childhood malnutrition has major effects on the developing brain. Research shows that stunted children have a lower IQ and consequently less economic potential in adulthood. Without intervention, Dariana will be at risk of these long term effects. “Her immune system will continue to weaken and her weight will continue to drop,” adds WK.
With $535, Dariana will be enrolled into WK’s recuperative nutrition program, where she will receive growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation, and medication. Her parents will undergo nutrition education to better care for Dariana and their future children. With these measures, Dariana will have the chance to live a healthy, productive life.