Meals provided from 2016 to date
A team of nutritutionists prepare weekly menus that the volunteer mothers cook, based on calorie requirements to ensure normal growth and development in children. We work to ensure that every child receives 1 meal a day from Monday to Friday.
Mothers do volunteer work and develop leadership in their communities. We train them in nutrition, breastfeeding, hygiene, food handling, negotiation, conflict resolution, disease prevention, anthropometric measurement and weighing, among others.
We focus on monitoring the height and weight of children, in order to assess their nutritional status and be able to provide supplements to malnutrition cases. We also deworm children twice a year to ensure better absorption of nutrients, avoid diarrhea and anemia.
We are committed to the comprehensive growth of children. Through reading and playing, we seek to develop skills that allow us to influence their emotional and social development, so that they can have better school performance.
We work in communities to handle crisis situations and thus prevent abuse, child abuse and depression. We offer psychological support and promote positive education.
In 2016, the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela worsened, particularly impacting low-income families and significantly increasing childhood malnutrition. This situation causes the most vulnerable children to lack the food necessary for proper growth, which affects their cognitive development and puts their lives at risk.
Alimenta La Solidaridad is an organization that develops sustainable solutions to the food security challenges of Venezuelan families. We promote community organization and volunteer work as a way to provide daily lunches to children at risk or experiencing nutritional deficiency as a result of the complex humanitarian crisis.
Our organization works because of the active participation of volunteer mothers and fathers, who are the real leaders. They share their home to provide spaces for the community kitchens, they cook, organize the children, clean, and carry out the daily operations of the community kitchens. This co-responsibility model is based on empowerment and responsibility at every stage of the process, strengthening the social fabric and organizational capital of the communities.
The community leader identifies a space where the community kitchen can operate.
There is a meeting with the community to explain the fundamental operations of the organization.
The community gets to know the Alimenta La Solidaridad team, who explains who we are and why we are there.
Everyone establishes a commitment on responsibilities and the standards for correctly establishing the program.
The community kitchen is inaugurated.
My mind is always where my children are.
I grew up with three sisters and my mother, without any dad. My older sister was very conflictive. We fought a lot until I got tired and left home at the age of fourteen with my boyfriend, who is the same husband I have today.
That same year I had a miscarriage, and he was always with me. Months after that tragedy, we had our first child.
I remember that throughout my life I never had the need to work. My husband brought food to the house while I looked after the children. We never lacked food because Venezuela was different. You could live. But when things got tough, I started working, even though my husband did not like the idea.
That is why Alimenta la Solidaridad became my first job, and it has been two years now! What I like most is that I laugh a lot with my colleagues. I feel happy and useful working.
One of the most challenging things to do is that I am physically here, but my mind does not stop being at home because my children are alone. I leave them in the morning, then they come to the community kitchen at noon, and afterward they walk to school unaccompanied. They are six and seven years old, and you know very well how the streets are in Venezuela.
The kitchen is my refuge.
I always had a very united family. My siblings and I were raised with a lot of love. I finished secondary school and started studying Education at the university. I always wanted to be a teacher but left my studies when my mother was diagnosed with an advanced cancer. I dedicated myself to care for her while my brother bought medications he was able to find. Even this way we were unable to save her.
For many years I was alone at home because the rest of my family would go to work. The violence in the neighborhood where I live scares me a lot and when I found out about the Alimenta la Solidaridad community kitchen, I began frequenting it to prevent being alone at home.
I fell in love with helping the children and I loved the project. In a short amount of time I began helping in the kitchen and in the organization. I am very happy working in the community kitchen because it is basically my life.
I went from being sous-chef to chef in the Sustento kitchen, the highest position! It fills me with pride to be part of this initiative. I work with dedication and lots of love and it has been recognized!
I lived with my parents until they got divorced when I was 9 years old. I stayed with my dad and my older sister who was 11 years old. He spoiled us a lot, and he played the role of mother, father, and friend. He gave us everything but to do that he had to spend many hours at work, so he left us alone at home.
We were very close when my sister began dating a thug. When I was only 12 years old, they were taking me to parties. I think that´s why I matured so quickly. My dad never agreed.
When I was 15 years old, thugs came to kill my sister´s boyfriend. I heard the noises, but I was terrified, so I stayed in my bed pretending to be asleep. I heard gunshots and then a lot of noise out on the street, so I went outside. My sister had been murdered, and this affected me a lot.
I stopped studying and concentrating at school. My mom´s boyfriend, who had more money, offered her a better life, so I tried to continue studying.
Five months after this tragedy, when I was living with my mother and stepfather, they also murdered my older brother. My mom blamed me because I was the last to speak to him (just like it happened with my sister). So I dropped out of school, took to the streets, and got pregnant at 16. My boyfriend did not take care of the baby, so my father said to me: I will be his dad. My father gave me everything.