It Starts with Kids
There are no paved roads, sewage systems, landscaped thoroughfares, or places of commerce as you drive into Purna. The compelling story is the reality of the families struggling to keep their heads from slipping under the suffocating waves of extreme poverty. Each day, the families in this enclave wrestle with the rigors of working from sunrise to sunset, living with hunger as a constant companion. There are the telltale signs in full bloom of a community in collapse, and sadly, children are typically the first casualties of poverty.
Our early observations of children attending the community school were validated by two local organizations observing classroom behavior and surveying the families regarding their nutritional intake and current health status. Many of the children were found to be in various stages of malnutrition, which were compounding other health issues.
TerraMica concluded that the priority of the health of the children must dominate the first few projects within Purna to guide these kids back onto the path of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
With a strong focus on health, working closely with the community school, and by going house to house, TerraMica has implemented the “WASH” education project, specifically designed to train rural families in the value of basic practices for improved health and reducing the negative impact on children through water borne bacteria, which is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five. Simultaneously, TerraMica has funded the “Family Garden,” program created and led by Job and Adria Gamez, with the goal to increase the daily nutritional intake of fresh vegetables for every family in Purna. With degrees in specialized areas of agriculture, Job and Adria are training children and their families how to cultivate and manage their own vegetable garden. Working alongside children in the gardens, they teach them about the importance of caring for the garden, basic agriculture, and nutrition. These gardens provide important nutritional value to offset hunger and malnutrition. They provide a way to contribute to the community, and even create the opportunity for economic gain when extra produce is sold to neighbors or at market.
Research shows that a community playground provides the opportunity for children to enjoy the kind of play that is key to their physical, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive development. Knowing this, TerraMica has partnered with Kids Around the World (KATW) to provide and build a playground in Purna. An incredibly important added element is that it will become a gathering place for families, developing relationships, connections, and a united purpose. But it’s not just a playground! Along with it, we engage the local church to lead in a children’s mentoring program. TerraMica is bringing KATW in to train church leadership in their children’s discipleship program. Local children join a Story Group, where a loving leader teaches Biblical truths and character development. Wrapping these child-focused objectives around a strong mentoring program in partnership with KATW and the local church, these programs will develop hope, faith, physical and emotional well-being, and these children will have an incredible impact on the future of Purna and Honduras.
So, it starts with kids … real change. TerraMica is investing into the families of Purna to begin the long walk away from the devastating impact of poverty and into the early stages of a healthy and vital community. Pouring into children, into the next generation, creating hope for the future … with a helping hand, with compassion and hope, the impact of poverty can be alleviated!
by Ed Apffel, Chairman Board of Directors, TerraMica