ACTIVITIES AT OUR KINDERGARTEN
ACTING AGAINST MALNUTRITION
Given the poor variety in diets of the rural Ivory Coast, malnutrition is a leading cause of inappropriate development in children and increased susceptibility to certain diseases. Thus, children at our kindergarten in Brobo receive a full daily meal with balanced nutrients that give them energy for days full of activities, play and study.
TACKLING ANEMIA, MALARIA AND INTESTINAL PARASITOSIS
Due to inappropriate diets in early infancy, Ivorian children are particularly susceptible to developing anemia with around 75% under the age of 5 years old suffering from the condition. This disease significantly lowers the blood hemoglobin content. While the normal hemoglobin for a healthy child is expected to oscillate around 11g/1L, extreme cases record as low as only 2g/1L, as the blood loses its brick-red color and appears visually lighter. In the case of malaria, a disease destroying red blood cells, anemic children have much lower survivability rates. Even with hospitalization, 25-40% lose the battle with this notorious parasitic condition.
Thus, prevention at our kindergarten is practiced by giving children an efficient (and very tasty) medicine – chocolate! Thanks to its rich iron content (an element crucial for healthy hemoglobin) children become more resistant to tropical diseases as our pupils receive a daily bowl of chocolate. Who would think a medical treatment can be so enjoyable?! In addition, we tackle yet another great cause of anemia in children – intestinal parasitosis. For that reason, children at our kindergarten are given appropriate medication against the parasites.
LAYING FOUNDATIONS FOR FURTHER EDUCATION
While the official language of the Ivory Coast is French, given its past colonial history, rural communities still use their tribal languages to communicate on a daily basis. In fact, people in Brobo primarily speak Baule. This becomes a problem later on, as children who cannot speak French are excluded from the Ivorian education system using French only.
Therefore, the staff at our kindergarten encourages children to use French on a daily basis, via play and studying. As our 6-year-old pupils leave the institution, they can speak good French and are ready to pursue education they would have otherwise been unable to. In fact, our graduating children almost always find themselves within the top 5% of the best students in the following primary school and outcompete the more privileged peers!
CREATING A SAFE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
Given the relatively high costs of state-funded kindergartens in the country, many children in rural regions are devoid of any sort of early childhood education. Instead, they are exposed to all the dangers associated with roaming around the countryside. Therefore, one of the main goals of our kindergarten in Brobo is to provide children with safe and a comfortable space. Our pupils have professional teachers, as well as Professor Asse (Professor in Pediatrics) at their disposal at any time of the school days. Recently, safety has been our biggest concern and already resulted in building a fence around the playground, cleaning the surrounding area of any trash, and keeping the farm animals away.
Given the great development of the kindergarten, we are now able to provide a holistic, inclusive education for children with disabilities. We have recently opened a new building dedicated to such children, where we help them to develop sustainably. In addition, we are now completing our rehabilitation equipment to allow for a balanced set of exercises.
Our children also receive vitamins to counteract poor diets, further increasing their health and wellbeing. In particular, the diets of rural communities lack Vitamin A. Thus, our actions include Vitamin A-rich meals, as well as supplementation.
ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE THE KINDERGARTEN
PROVIDING CARE TO ORPHANS
Another of our aims is to support infants who have lost their mothers by providing them with baby formula milk. This initiative recognizes the importance of proper nutrition in the early stages of a child's life and seeks to ensure that they receive the nourishment they need to grow and develop. The loss of a mother can be a traumatic experience for a child, and it can also have long-lasting effects on their health and well-being. By providing them with baby formula milk, we help to mitigate some of these negative effects and ensure that the children are getting all the needed nutrients. The initiative is a collaborative effort between local organizations and volunteers who work together to identify infants in need and distribute the formula milk. They also provide guidance to caregivers on proper feeding practices to ensure that the infants are receiving the appropriate amount of milk and are being cared for in a way that promotes their overall health and well-being.
HOLIDAY SUPPORT FOR UNPRIVILLAGED CHILDREN
We also support the poorest children who lost their parents by providing them with clothing and school materials during holidays and other special occasions. This helps to ensure that they have access to the basic resources they need to continue their education and improve their quality of life despite the added burden of financial insecurity.