Almost a third of Venezuelans suffer from malnutrition but there is HOPE.
ENCOVI, a leading informative and statistical reference at the service of public advocacy) estimates that 9 out of 10 Venezuelan households currently live below the poverty line, with 64.8% experiencing multi-dimensional poverty (related to indicators such as education, the standard of living, employment, public services, and housing) with an average daily income of $0.72
The Food and Agriculture organization states that a diet capable of meeting minimum energy needs in Venezuela cost about $1.60/person per day last year but has risen to $3.98 this year which is well beyond the reach of most Venezuelans.
“Venezuelan families consume cereals, roots or potatoes daily and complement their consumption of cereals with legumes (beans, lentils) three days a week and with dairy products four days a week.” The consumption of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and fruits is below three days a week for each of these food
groups,” the report states.
Time is short because as ENCOVI itself warns, the long-term consequences of the current nutritional status of Venezuela “may be irreversible.”
In response to these great needs that affect millions of children and families in Venezuela, we established a Hope Center through a partnership with a local organization in Venezuela called Fundación Pais. This Hope Center is in one of the most affected neighborhoods in the country called La Sabila just outside of Barquisimeto.
More than 1000 children are treated weekly receiving medical care, balanced meals, education, counseling, as well as visits to assess their family environment and respond to the needs. Our team also conducts workshops for parents to educate and equip them to break out of the poverty cycle they find themselves in.
More than 97% of the children who are cared for in our Hope Center overcome childhood malnutrition with an impressive improvement in their healthy height and weight. In addition, many parents learn new skills which allow them to earn higher-paying jobs. In the end, the families become healthier all while the Love of Jesus is being shared as the Gospel is proclaimed.
In a State of Severe Malnutrition
This is how it happened with Baby Jesús Chirinos, 58 days old, a child who arrived at our Hope Centers with many deficiencies and in a state of severe malnutrition.
He was born at 31 weeks with serious health problems due to the lack of food for his pregnant mother, who was only 16 years old and dealing with physical disabilities. Jesús’ mother was desperate and went looking for help and finally found it when she arrived at the Hope Center. The team began to care for both Jesús and his mother’s medical, physical, and emotional needs all the while providing a lot of love.
At present, Baby Jesús continues to be cared for in the Hope Center by the staff and is gaining weight and height, overcoming malnutrition, and developing normally for his age. His mother also overcame her malnutrition and has become a more responsible mother. She is enrolled in our programs and continues to receive tools and training to overcome poverty.
The story of Baby Jesús is the story of many children in Venezuela when they arrive at the Hope Center. Their lives are transformed and saved from the devastation of poverty.
Each of the Hope Centers are established in impoverished areas to bring the hope and love of Jesus to those most in need. Please pray for our work around the world and for the little ones we care for like Baby Jesús.