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Stories from the Field

Ericka Strives To Give Her Children A Better Future in Nicaragua

By Hannah Payne on October 24, 2019

Today is United Nations Day, marking the 74th anniversary of the formation of the United Nations. Since its founding, the United Nations has been committed to addressing, improving and upholding human rights, which includes the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 goals are all vital steps towards achieving “a better and more sustainable future for all.”

Food security plays an absolutely critical role in a person’s life, which is why Rise Against Hunger works in support of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #2 to achieve zero hunger by 2030.

Ericka with her daughter, Jania.

For Ericka in Managua, Nicaragua, food security has impacted her family’s lives in several ways. Last year, Ericka and her husband purchased and moved into their first home with their four children. The house was simply constructed with tin, yet they were excited because they would be very close to where Ericka’s husband worked full-time at a construction company. Unfortunately, around the time of their big move, the country’s socio-political crisis forced the company to cut staff, including Ericka’s husband’s position.

Since then, he’s been working odd jobs and struggling to meet basic needs in the household. Before receiving Rise Against Hunger meals distributed by partner ORPHANetwork, Ericka recalls the difficulty of not having enough food. “We ate once a day and sometimes not even once. My husband and I were always hungry because we gave our children what little we had. We didn’t want our children telling us they couldn’t understand lessons at school because they were hungry. Now with the help of Rise Against Hunger, we eat three times a day; everyone in the house eats the meals.”

Ericka dreams of her children becoming working professionals someday. She understands the importance of proper nutrition and recognizes that it is needed to achieve this dream. She already sees a difference in her children’s physical appearance and overall wellbeing from eating the Rise Against Hunger meals. Laughing, she says, “My son and my younger daughter have reached a healthy weight, and their skin color has improved thanks to the vitamins.”

Ericka prepares Rise Against Hunger meals at her home.

Darwing, the leader of the feeding center where Ericka receives the meals, knows how important a parent’s active participation is for the potential of a better future for their children. When speaking about Ericka, he says, “She does what’s best for her family and is committed to the development of her children. She has helped her children recover from illnesses, which allows them to focus in school. A year ago, I met her daughter, Jania, who was suffering from malnutrition and as a result, very thin, anemic and with many emotional problems. But, Ericka is a self-sacrificing mother and has fought for her girl to have better nutrition. Now, Jania looks better, and her appetite has improved.”

Silvia, a community development agent and registered nurse who has worked with OPRHANetwork for three years, explains the organization’s mission, “Our vision is to make every child reach his maximum potential. We educate mothers on issues of disease prevention, nutrition and positive parenting. Once a month, we visit homes to encourage good hygiene and nutrition habits. We provide support, so they are guaranteed at least one plate of food a day through the feeding center. For children suffering from malnutrition, we provide a box of Rise Against Hunger meals on a monthly basis, knowing that not only will the malnourished child eat it, but the whole family.”

Ericka’s home in Nicaragua.

Silvia sees the impact of the Rise Against Hunger meals in the fight against malnutrition. She says, “We can change the future of entire families by combating malnutrition and breaking cycles of poverty. Those who are now children will be future doctors, nurses or professionals who will make a change in the world thanks to good nutrition.”

Ericka’s story is just one of many stories of people truly impacted by food security. In honor of United Nations Day, help us in our support of Sustainable Development Goal 2 by donating today!