Threads of Peru has a collaborative approach – that is, we believe that by working with others we can be much stronger than if we worked alone. As such, since inception, we have gone out of our way to form alliances and communicate openly and honestly with other organizations.
Kelsey Quam and Urbano Huayna discuss the nutrition program with the women of Chaullacocha.
In 2010, the US not for profit organization, Reach Out Children´s Foundation (ROCF) Organization, came to an agreement with Threads of Peru to adminster their lunch program that had been delivered in previous years, plus act as a local contact in regard to health issues. As ToP is already making regular visits, it made sense to share transport and translation costs.
Check out ROCF´s blog and websites:
ToP, not having a background in nutrition, set about learning more about nutrition in an Andean context through meetings with nutritionists in Cusco, as well as other organizations that worked in the field. We were aware that EsSalud, the government health service, provides a range of services but tends to be discounted by the locals and challenged by the distances to the communities. It also became quickly evident that the people in the villages will over emphasise their poverty when in fact they do receive assistance from a wide range of organizations (ie PRONAA, Vaso de Leche up to 6 years, the Civil Defense etc)
It became clear to us, that to meet ROCF´s goal of making a significant difference to the children, that we needed to be able to measure the changes that the meal program was going to make. To do this, we needed to have a “starting point”.
First we met with the Presidents of the communities of Chaullacocha and Chupani, as well as the President of the Parents Association. They expressed their gratitude to ROCF for previous years support and asked that we communicate frequently, clearly and directly with them, not just the teachers in the schools. They also asked that the food be delivered regularly each month. They in turn committed to collect firewood and provide a roster of parents. We also asked permission to weigh and measure the children – which they agreed to gladly. They were also in full support of getting EsSalud´s support in de parasiting the children. (its really not much use to send food to the children if they have not been treated for worms).
During the 18th and 19th of March a team of 7 people headed up the slippery road to Palqaq to meet with the women and carry out the initial analysis. Due to the rains, the trail was still wet and muddy, making the trip a little slower than usual. In Chupani, Kelsey and Urbano found that the school was not even operating! All the same, due our connection to the women during weaving we collected some 25 kids to weigh and measure.We had thought that we would weigh and measure each child, but it became more of an interview with the mother and her family as a whole as we asked them general health questions, where they lived, what they ate, and if they had had illnesses.
Even though we were expecting them to be malnourished, we were surprised just how small they were!!! Headlice were present in around 90% of the children and we were shocked at what a high percentage were born at home with no professional medical assistance. Back in Cusco we are collating and analyzing the information and plan to share this information with ROCF in the US, plus local authorities charged with such work, like EsSalud. Threads of Peru congratulates ROCF on their ongoing work and generosity.