“I dream that my little girl will one day be a great teacher,” shares the mother of 11-month-old Maritza.
Maritza is currently living with malnutrition. She is dangerously underweight because her parents cannot afford to give her the protein, calories, and nutrients that she needs to be healthy. She gets sick often because her immune system does not have the fuel it needs to fight off germs, making her body use all her energy on getting over sicknesses rather than growing and developing. If she does not receive treatment now, Maritza could face long-term consequences including mental deficiencies, chronic diseases, and lower earning potential as an adult.
Maritza is the only child to two loving parents. She lives with them in a cinderblock house with a tin roof in a rural mountainous community in Guatemala. Her father works in a small store, selling snacks, and her mother works at home taking care of Maritza, cooking, and cleaning. Although they both work hard and want the best for their daughter, they cannot afford to give the diet she needs to overcome malnutrition.
$512 of growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation, and deworming medication will help Maritza recover from malnutrition. The support provided from the doctors at our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq, will save her life and put her on track to live a better life in the future. She will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children her age. Her immune system will grow stronger with increased caloric intake, preventing her from having any more life-threatening situations with diarrhea, fevers, and coughs. This will further increase her appetite and help her use the extra calories to develop mentally instead of those calories being wasted on getting over frequent illnesses.
Her parents will receive the support they need to feel empowered to give Maritza the diet she needs to grow and develop healthily. Intervention now will prevent the future devastating effects of malnutrition, and give Maritza the chance to live a healthy and productive life, finish school, get a good job, and escape the cycle of malnutrition and poverty that made her sick in the first place.