We have some exciting news regarding our nutritional program in South Africa. For the last seven years, in partnership with Meals from the Heartland and Convoy of Hope and many generous donors, we have been providing food security for 7,500 children in South Africa. Our vision in the early days was to provide food security, along with other child development services, to impoverished children in rural South Africa. Because of our interest in education, sports, and spiritual development, we focused mainly on a narrow age band of children between ages 12 to 14, which made the sports and educational programing much easier.
Over the years I have gained a great appreciation of the first 1000 days of a child’s life in providing sound nutrition and a nurturing, loving, environment for complete child development. Thus, we are focusing new efforts and attention on baby shelters, training for new moms, and nutrition and general support for preschool-age children. We will continue our nutritional support for impoverished children of all ages. We recently did a thorough evaluation of the children that we are helping, and we can now report to you, our donors, that you are helping us provide nutritional support to over 11,000 children per week! In addition to the rice packets that Convoy of Hope and Meals from the Heartland have been helping us with, we will soon be providing powdered infant formula and vitamins to needy infants and toddlers.
To further improve the quality of our nutritional program and to also improve the feedback that we are able to offer to our donors, I am seeking funding for a full-time nutritional consultant to oversee the feeding centers to which we are providing food packets. This new staff person will help us collect metric data on a long-term basis on many of the children that we are helping to scientifically document the benefit of the programs that we are investing in. This new staff person will also help us do a better job of documenting with videos, photos and stories about the children who are being served by our programs. This will help us to secure much needed funding to expand even further the number of children that we are able to assist.
For a few years now we have had many donors who have chosen to support our ministry monthly. With increased data and feedback about the children that our donors are helping, I am confident that many more people, and even corporations, will desire to step forward and be a part of this great program.
In my next blog, I will address how we are teaching the older children about gardening with excellence through school gardens to instill a love of agriculture, along with learning an important skill.