Food security for anemic children – YMCA Peru

Maria Fernanda Giraldo



Welcome to YMCA in Motion, a podcast series where you can learn how YMCA’s actions in the context of the CoVid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. I’m William Leandro and this activity comes to you from Arequipa, Peru.

Audio girl Khiara:

YMCA, thank you so much for the groceries!


This is Khiara, she is 4 years old and lives in Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru, 18 hours by bus from the capital, Lima.

The community where Khiara lives is a human settlement called Horacio Zeballos, which is home to fourteen thousand people in vulnerable situations, so the YMCA installed a community center to meet several social demands such as, for example, medical consultations in which a private doctor costs 30 US dollars, the YMCA offers them for only three dollars, allowing the population to access quickly without waiting sometimes for weeks, the services of the state.

Health is one of the main issues addressed by this community center, focusing on serious public health problems such as chronic malnutrition, which in Peru reaches 12% of children under 5 years of age and anemia reaches 40% among children under three years of age.

For this reason, the YMCA has developed a dining room for children in the area with these problems that has allowed dozens of children to get out of anemia, as Maria del Carmen Meza, Program Coordinator and Doctor, shares with us.

Audio María del Carmen:

We provide a children’s dining room service; the children have access to a highly nutritional lunch, but we not only seek to improve the nutritional situation of our children; we also seek to improve their level of development through the early stimulation service. We continuously monitor the families through our medical, psychological and social work services.

We provide talks, educational workshops to families, trying to provide the necessary tools for them to set healthy homes on track.


With the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, the Peruvian government made the decision to quarantine the country, restricting public mobility, generating that both volunteer mothers and children can not attend the dining room and put at risk their food, so they have had to find creative ways out so that children continue to receive their daily ration, as heard in the voice of Rosario Mayhua, community health agent that despite the crisis situation does not stop in their work and shares with us what motivates her to move forward.

Audio Rosario:

I am a promoter because it makes me happy to be able to help people who need it most. Seeing those people who are happy with the support given to them, I am happy too. I get home and I feel at peace with myself for having done something for them. Maybe because as a child I went through the same needs and that’s why I can understand it. Sometimes this is difficult because I can’t go out, but from my window and sometimes through my cell phone, I tell everyone that in spite of this situation, we must be calm, we must have patience and a lot of faith in God, that this is going to be solved and that it depends on us. If we comply with what the President tells us with these preventive measures he gives us, that all this will be solved.

This will pass, and if we do it, everything will be fine. I also tell them, love your families, now it is our turn to protect ours as the great women that we are. I have always been happy with myself, to support the work that the YMCA does for CEDIN. My colleagues and I will always collaborate in any way we can.

The day that they distributed…that we distributed the supplies, I felt very happy with myself because knowing that I was doing something for the children and above all for those who needed it most, it filled me with joy to see that other people were happy for that help…and I don’t even think they were expecting it and I felt happy. Thank you YMCA for being with us in these difficult times. God bless the YMCA family.


This was YMCA in Movement, a podcast produced by YMCA Latin America and the Caribbean to share the actions taken by YMCAs in the context of the CoVid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. You can learn more of these stories on our social networks or by visiting our website

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