HI: Fighting Malnutrition in Guatemala 4:00, 2018 (Ref: SA18842)


Fighting Malnutrition in Guatemala has become a major concern. The silent disease is rife in the Guatemala Highlands. Chronic malnutrition is stunting the development of children – both their bodies and their minds.


A children’s clinic in Guatemala is bringing back indigenous plants to help fight chronic malnutrition in the country. With rising food prices, most children are brought up on just tortillas and beans, lacking essential vitamins and minerals. Staff at Bethania Clinic, supported by Christian Aid, are teaching mothers how to grow and cook nutritious indigenous plants.

In this film we see how Maria Leonor and her extended family are not getting enough to eat. Most children in her village are not getting enough to eat. The damage done in these critical early years by the lack of vital vitamins and minerals can never be repaired. We see how Maria’s thirteenth child is lethargic. It’s a classic sign of malnutrition. Her grand child has a stomach infection, another common sign.


A previous food crisis has prompted Sister Juana to take action. She is encouraging families to create their own kitchen gardens. Sister Juana distributes seeds to the rural communities where malnutrition hits hardest. Juana brings seeds of indigenous plants which are resilient and highly nutritious. Popular with local people’s ancestors, they slowly disappeared over the years.

The tomatoes are high in vitamin C. As we see in the film many of the villagers are working hard in their kitchen gardens. With Juana’s help they have brought a wide variety of vegetables back to life. Chatate is a nutritious herb high in vitamin A.

Juana even teaches local communities how to cook herbs such as Hierbamora and they have to undergo the ultimate test of being eaten by children. Watch the film to find out if the children like the indigenous plants.