Hope Burns Bright for 77 Venezuelan Children

You know how hard it is to concentrate when you’re hungry. Your stomach growls. Your head aches. Your mind blanks. All you can think about is food! Food! Food!

In Venezuela, where over 75% of people live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.90 per day, being hungry is a daily reality. Children suffer specifically from malnutrition because it limits their cognitive and physical development. They’ll be less productive as adults, meaning malnutrition today will hinder Venezuela’s socio-economic progress for decades 

Unlike other countries, when Venezuelan kids fail a grade in the public school system, they cannot repeat that grade the following school year. Instead, they need to learn what they have missed and test back into their original grade level to continue their education. One reason students who fail a grade are excluded from the formal education system is the shortage of public school teachers in Venezuela. 

Our program officer in Venezuela helps serve lunch at school. Photo by Jonathan Lanza for Preemptive Love.

You saw this dual need for nutrition and education, and you responded by starting an education and nutrition project six months ago in Caracas, Venezuela. You gave 80 children between the ages of five and eleven a better start in life. When you showed up in September, 61.5% of the children enrolled in this project suffered from some degree of malnutrition, and all had been excluded from the public school system because they had failed their grade level.

You showed up with breakfast so the children could start their days off right. You came back at noon with hot, tasty lunches and again, with afternoon snacks, so the kids had the mental energy they needed to learn. You empowered two teachers to give the children 120 hours of tutoring classes so the kids could rejoin the formal education system. 

Group study is fun and informative! Photo by Jonathan Lanza for Preemptive Love.

After three months, 70% of the children participating in this project improved their mathematics, language, and reading abilities. The kids were healthier, too. By December, malnutrition had decreased by 18.9%. Also, the number of children who had reached a standard weight for their age had increased by 20.4%.

Let the fun and games begin! Our community of peacemakers is giving kids a chance to be kids. Photo by Jonathan Lanza for Preemptive Love.

The project finished this month, and we are ecstatic to report that all of the children who finished the program will be returning to the formal education system. (Three children left the program when their families moved.) None of this would not have been possible without our community of peacemakers showing up and doing the work that creates life-changing impact. Despite the harsh conditions most Venezuelans live in, they have dreams. Your generosity has brought 77 children one step closer to realizing theirs.