GUATEMALA (WKOW)-- Fifty-two percent of Guatemala's 14 million citizens live below the poverty line. More than 1 million children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition.
A Verona-based nonprofit, Outreach for World Hope, is trying to give families in need a hand-up, not a hand-out.
We see how in our special report: Hope for Guatemala.
The team of volunteers from the Madison-area traveled at least an hour up the mountain to visit one of Outreach for World Hope's newest employees.
Angel got what's called the NET program because his family was in need, especially his daughter, Antoinetta.
Suffering from malnutrition, she was one of the first children in the program five years ago. NET stands for Nutritional Enhancement Triad. Families who are approved for the program receive three components.
The first is 8 egg-laying hens and a rooster.
"So the goal is that they will grow and lay eggs and they can eat some of the eggs and then sell the surplus to buy hen feed, more hens so it's self sustaining," said Kim.
The second leg of the triad are ten fruit trees. They discovered mango and avocado are drought resistant and are high in vital nutrients.
The third component is called a bucket kit garden. It is a 5 gallon bucket placed off the ground that feeds hoses that then drips water to plants in the garden. They families just have to make sure they can fill the bucket twice a day. Outreach for World Hope also gives the family seeds, fertilizer, and pesticide to get them started.
Angel is growing carrots, radishes, cabbage, tomatoes and more.
How much has this triad, the NET program, has made a difference to your family I asked Angel.
"It's a very big blessing because we struggle to provide for our families. We are thankful for the program."
Antoinetta is now 10 and is doing well. The team of volunteers saw what a successful garden looks like so they were extremely motivated when they got to work helping 8 new families get the NET program.
"We are so blessed in our country and we have so much we can share," said Tryg. "This small offering of work is a small piece to help them with life-sustaining food."
The team wanted to work as long as it took to plant every last tree, run every last hose, and plant every last seed.
Programming note: tune in on March 12th at 5pm for a half-hour special: Hope for Guatemala.