Health & Wellness
The importance of basic healthcare cannot be understated. Poor preventative health and lack of health services impede an individual’s ability to function in a community, affecting school attendance, employment and social activities. Through our Women’s Health and Child Sponsorship programs, we strive to integrate health and wellness into our holistic approach to community development.
Women's Exercise Class
Program Directors teach a biweekly exercise class limited to only woman of the Cedro Galan and Chiquilistagua communities. In response to the need of healthier lifestyles and woman empowerment in these communities, we offer a 2-3 hour a week exercise and nutrition class to woman of all ages. The class is broken up into two one hour classes of exercise and a weekly nutrition "charla", or discussions. Our exercise class varies every week depending on the needs of the women. We focus our routines on strength, flexibility, weight loss and coordination. Our routines can include cardio, circuit training, yoga, salsa, aerobics, and hip-hop. The woman take a lot of pride in the mastery of our routines and strive to meet the difficulty of each class. Our nutrition portion of the class focuses on improving the health habits of the women in our exercise class. We also incorporate cooking classes to share easy, convenient,healthy recipes with the women to feed to their families. Healthy potluck dinners we've held have put these healthy recipes to use as well as strengthened the social ties between the women. More than anything, this program provides a great sense of support and pride for the women and a way to let loose in a comfortable environment.
Women's Sexual & Reproductive Health
MPI's yearlong Program Directors are implementing a Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) class for young girls in Chiquilsitagua. In the next year, we hope to expand this project and provide SRH programming for young girls and women in Cedro Galan and La Chureca. The goal of the SRH class is to create a safe space for young women to talk openly about issues that affect them. The ultimate goal is to give young girls the tools they need to combat gender inequality and make informed decisions. Program Directors are currently teaching two classes at a local school and reaching over 50 young girls.
Over the summer of 2012, with the support of the Shaughnessy Family, Manna Project International had an opportunity to hire a part time psychologist to provide psychological consultations and small group sessions for young girls and women living in La Chureca. The psychologist has had consultations with all of the women participating in our Child Sponsorship and Nutrition Program and our women's cooperative and the women have reported positive experiences after working with her. One woman recently told one of our Program Directors that the psychologist was the first person to tell her she was a, "strong and good mother for her children". We hope to increase funding in the future so we are able to hire a full time psychologist to work in La Chureca and in Cedro Galan and Chiquilistagua.
MPI's pyschologist and nutrionist working together to improve community health programs.
Working in conjunction with our Child Sponsorship nutrition program, Program Directors coordinate weekly health talks given by the clinic nurse and health promoter, with occasional guest speakers. Attendance of these health talks is a requirement of the mothers whose children are enrolled in our Child Sponsorship program.