Healthy Projects, Healthy Communities

Many of your fellow PCVs have been doing some pretty great health-related projects in their communities. Here’s a sampling of them brought to you by the Health Promotion Committee.

photo-Lindsey_Health_ProjectEl Silencio Goes Cookbook Healthy

by Lindsey Thielmann

This year has been filled with bananas, wheat bread, peanut butter, positive body image, English directions, and nutrition charlas. I was grateful to be given the freedom to work with primary classes on my very own combination of The CookBook Project, English speaking, and Love Your Body girls’ empowerment workshops. It has been one of the most rewarding and entertaining parts of my service. Just look at those vivacious smiles on some empowered little ones!

La Fundación Rehabilitación Integral

by Arielle Genther

Shortly after arriving at site, I started volunteering at a rehabilitation center for children with disabilities. The foundation serves a full spectrum of disabilities with the main focus on health. I get to work with an incredible team of people, some of who have disabilities of their own. The staff provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, emotional support, music therapy, sensory stimulation, speech therapy, and specialized education. I work alongside another special educator, teaching the kids core subjects such as reading, writing, and math. I’ve also been able to provide some support in English. Many of the children are enrolled in school; for them, the goal is to track their studies and work with their teachers to ensure they get the support they need. For the children not enrolled in school, the goal is to push them into one or equip them with vocational skills. Some really unique activities the foundation offers their participants are cooking classes and swimming lessons. We have a pool on site, but once a week we take the children to the beach to swim in the ocean. The foundation also offers continuing education for its staff. Next month we will be starting a course on basic sign language. I can’t wait to be able to better communicate with both the deaf children and staff at the foundation!

photo-Tamara_Health_Project

Nutrition and Cooking Camp in Suan

by Tamara Neuhaus

One of the concerns of schoolteachers and officials in Suan is that there is a lack of positive recreation opportunities for youth. During the school break I facilitated a nutrition and cooking camp with kids. I used The Cookbook Project curriculum and incorporated the use of the Moringa tree, which has highly nutritional leaves and grows well in Colombia’s hot coastal climate.  The kids prepared a variety of dishes, including arroz con moringa y espinaca, ensalada de frutas con moringa, and bolis de mora, leche, panela y moringa. At the end of the program each participant planted a tree at their home so they can continue to cook with the Moringa leaves.  The aprons that VAC helped fund created a professional atmosphere and mindset for the participants as they became chefs.

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