Maria Fabiola Churuchumbi Sandoval lives in a small village in Ecuador where two or three families live together in one-room adobe houses. Each family has a plot of land that has been passed down as a heritage of their ancestors. Fabiola and her community members in the village cultivate the land for harvesting, using what they grow to feed their families. When they have extra, they sell it in local markets or exchange it with other families.
Fabiola cares for her aging parents, and provides support to her extended family. In the past, she says that she and other villagers did not know how to properly care for their children and had no concept of proper nutrition. They also kept their animals inside their houses and were often sick due to a lack of attention to proper hygiene. Fabiola’s conditions changed with CHOICE Humanitarian’s help – she has learned the importance of nutrition and how she can provide a more nutritious diet to her family.
The biggest change in Fabiola’s garden is the addition of vegetables such as carrots, onions and spinach. Nutritionists from CHOICE Humanitarian worked individually with each family in the village to teach them how to add variety to their diets, as opposed to eating only corn, wheat, and barley. Now, they have learned how to grow, cook, and eat a variety of vegetables, sometimes getting nine servings of vegetables a day!
Fabiola is sick less often now. She is able to take care of herself and her family. “I was blessed with this program. Now we are very happy; I have knowledge of a different reality,” Fabiola said.
Fabiola is now a community leader in her village: she has implemented the changes the program recommends and works to help others in her village do the same. More people are becoming involved in the program after seeing the positive results in Fabiola’s family. They are becoming more aware of their responsibility to feed their families nutritious foods. The families have seen the differences in the crops and health of those participating and they very excited with the results.
“I hope the program will spread to others who are not yet participating so they, too, can enjoy the benefits that have blessed my life.” Fabiola.