Breaking a vicious cycle of malnutrition in Guatemala
Four University of Alberta students from different parts of the world and backgrounds have helped create a new era, forged from a common living space and interest in helping others.
International House residents Dunia Joulani, Yilang Karen Kang, Dilshan Samarakoon and Laura Brookbanks, the lone Canadian of the group, were awarded a $10,000 grant in 2010 from the Davis Projects for Peace—an American philanthropic organization.
With the money, the foursome traveled to Santa Cruz, Guatemala, to help build a third floor onto an existing clinic that will become a nutrition health centre and help end the region’s cycles of malnutrition and poverty.
Joulani says that despite any cultural differences the team had a common vision.
“All of us have diverse backgrounds and we grew up being very interested in work that affects people globally,” Joulani said. “We all dream about helping people and this grant makes that a reality.”
Once the centre, which the group designed, is up and running, it will provide food and nutrition supplements, serve as an educational resource for preventing and treating diarrhea, teach mothers and other community members about healthy food options, and, hopefully, become a hub for researchers the world over who are studying malnutrition.