Two-year-old Maidy, with her big piercing brown eyes and braided hair, is one of the lucky ones. She survived her birth and infancy, a feat that in her home village of Independencia, Guatemala is considered beating the odds.
Chronic malnutrition is a deadly and common reality for the children growing up here. Maidy survived, but others like her won't be so lucky. For these children and their families, the fight to stay healthy is a tragic and constant struggle.
A lack of clean water makes life a constant struggle
In the rugged, remote hills of western Guatemala where Maidy lives with her sister Darriana and mother Guisela, far too often there is not enough healthy food to eat.
As a result, Guatemala has the highest level of malnutrition in Latin America. One of the challenges at the root of this issue is a lack of accessible, clean water. And drinking contaminated water causes illness — especially for children.
That's why women in Guatemala's Western Highlands make long treks to fetch water and then haul heavy containers back up steep terrain to their homes. Then, they must take the time to boil the water before the family can drink it … or use it for cooking, bathing and cleaning.
With such time-consuming efforts to get water for use in their homes, hauling water for gardening so families can grow enough food to eat is nearly impossible.
That forces mothers like Guisela to pay the high cost of transportation to the nearest market to buy vegetables to feed their children. Or to purchase clean water, which is extremely expensive.
Making life even harder, earning money is difficult for Guisela because there are few job prospects for women. And that makes it difficult for her family to break the bonds of poverty.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
Your love can lift up your neighbors in need
By donating today, you can help install pumps in towns like Independencia. And deliver water filtering containers that allow families to easily bring clean water directly to their homes for safe drinking, cooking, bathing and cleaning.
And you'll also deliver seeds to grow nutritious crops, critically needed gardening tools, and training on how to filter and use recycled washing and cleaning water for garden irrigation.
Your love provides the tools and resources for our neighbors with the very least to become self-sustaining
Your generosity will allow hardworking moms like Guisela to grow their own nutritionally packed seasonal vegetables — oyster mushrooms, carrots, radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery and herbs. With such options, children like Maidy and her sister Darriana will have a variety of healthy foods to eat. Your love will help them grow strong and healthy.
Plus, Guisela can sell any excess produce to earn an income, which is vital to her as a single mother caring for her family.
In addition, your kindness will promote breastfeeding in the region to ensure babies have a healthy start in life. You'll also provide training on good hygiene practices, including the importance of handwashing to prevent disease.
Because of you, children, families and communities can be healthier, both today and far into the future. But for that to happen, they need your love now, more than ever.