Threnna’s Window of Opportunity
When Daisy Rose brought her daughter Threnna* to apply to become part of the Childcare Compassion Ministries Philippines (CCMP) feeding program starting at a nearby church, the toddler weighed just 13 pounds and was considered severely underweight. Such underweight is called wasting, and it puts a child at high risk of dying before her fifth birthday.
Threnna—and Daisy Rose—were accepted into the program. Each morning, little Threnna was given a hearty and nutritious meal that included protein and the recommended amounts of vitamins and nutrients. She and the other children learned Bible songs, Bible verses, and how to pray. Meanwhile, her mother and other parents were taught by a nurse how to give their families the best possible chance to be healthy and strong physically, mentally, and spiritually.
By the end of the program, Threnna had gained 7½ pounds—half of her previous body weight—and had gone from “severely malnourished” to “normal.” The importance of this transformation cannot be overstated.
The 1,000-Day Window of Opportunity
The time from a child’s conception to his second birthday is critical to his physical and mental development. If a childdoesn’t get enough food—or the right kinds of foods (essential vitamins and minerals)—she will never reach her full potential. Chronic malnutrition, which is often passed from the mother to the child in the womb, leads to physical and mental stunting, which, if not corrected by the age of 2, becomes permanent. Not only are such children shorter than they should be, but they also are more prone to infections in childhood and to chronic illnesses in adulthood. They may be lethargic and delayed developmentally, causing many to struggle in school or drop out altogether. All of these factors contribute to reduced productivity and earning power, and the cycle of poverty, malnutrition, and stunting is likely to continue in future generations.
The problem of stunting from malnutrition is especially severe in the Philippines (ranked ninth worst in the world). According to Save the Children, one in three children in the Philippines suffers from stunted growth.The economic, social, and personal costs of stunting are high; so is the cost of trying to cure it. But it’s not all that difficult or expensive to prevent it. Adequate nutrition during a child’s first 1,000 days changes his future, allowing him to become all that God has created him to be. It costs less than $25 a month** to feed a child with adequate nutritious food that will help him grow up healthy and strong, breaking the curse of generational poverty and malnutrition. ALO is helping ministries in the Philippines such as CCMP and Family Circus take advantage of this 1,000-day window of opportunity to give kids their best possible future.
* Named individuals not shown in photo
** Save the Children Relief Web