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Emergency Response • Guatemala • 2023
“I never thought I would be helped like this.” Roberta, mother

Manuel was born three years ago to his teenage parents. Their relationship was unstable, meaning that Manuel is only really growing up able to depend on his mother. He was born with Down’s syndrome alongside other health complications that made it hard for him to digest his food properly. This meant that throughout his life, he’s often in hospital for check-ups on his height and weight.

Recently, he started showing signs of moderate malnutrition. This was when he started receiving support through an emergency nutrition project with CONACMI. Over the last six months, he has steadily been putting on weight and although he’s still slightly underweight for his age, he’s in a much more healthy bracket. His diet now mainly consists of hard boiled eggs, milk, cooked vegetables and a protein-filled maize drink which is common in Guatemala.

Manuel’s mum, Roberta, is 22 years old. She sells lotions and other beauty products on the streets to earn a living, but it’s tough because she only gets paid commission on the items that she manages to sell. This is why the support from CONACMI has been so important.

Through CONACMI, Roberta has actively participated in a training programme to set up a vertical vegetable garden in her house to provide healthy food for herself and Manuel. She’s also been motivated to continue learning, so she has already enrolled in a baking course, to be able to gain skills she can use in the future. After she’s finished all her training, she is excited for a small seed loan to set up her own business through support from Toybox.

“In the future, I know there will be a lot of challenges, but I’m going to support my child with everything I have so that he can grow up to be independent, learn in school and interact with people like everyone else.” Roberta

Manuel's life is only just beginning, and his mother, the health centre and CONACMI are doing everything possible to make it better, so he can receive support that will allow him to have a dignified and full life.

"I never thought I would be helped like this, they support me with eggs every week, with training, with study, I don't know what to say, just thank God and you, because you have been a blessing for our lives,” says Roberta.

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