The NAFA Nourishes Program runs in four stages, each lasting approximately six months. Once a children's home formally signs on with our program, a general assessment of the facility and the children takes place. Each child spends one on one time with our nurses and a personal medical record and health status evaluation is created. We inventory the home for immediate need, typically related to water (it's usage, cleanliness, and ability to be accessed) or food shortages.
Once we have a baseline for each child, Phase 1 begins. This phase is designed to quickly treat a child's nutritional deficits and target any environmental causes of malabsorption. NAFA Nourishes has partnered with NurtraVita, a producer of therapeutic food based in India. Each child receives a six-month daily dose of Plumpy'Sup, a highly efficient and easy-to-store food supplement (think of it like a high-nutrient peanut butter), administered first by our nursing staff and later by the children’s home caregivers. Our nurses treat lice and topical skin conditions and deal with personal hygiene, basic dental care and general concerns of the children as they present them to our staff. We provide every child with a filtered water bottle, toothbrush (to be replaced every 3 months) and nailbrush.
Phase 2 moves the kids off of daily Plumpy'Sup treatment and on to a multivitamin, also given daily. At the request of the children, we are currently working to source a “gummy vitamin,” though until that can be done, the multivitamin is a powder-based supplement that is mixed with clean water or juice. This is also when our training phase begins with a more intense focus. NAFA nurses go into the homes to teach the children and the group home staff, covering everything from washing hands and removing lice to how to spot early signs of malnutrition. As we learn and develop the program, our classes and training sessions continue to grow.
Phase 3 continues to keep the children on their daily multivitamin while focusing more on the home as a whole. By now, we have now developed a personal relationship with each child and staff member, allowing this phase to be about working with the home on a more connected level. Creating budgets and recipe books that are personal to each home, we also start to plan and build each home an individualized kitchen garden and work with them towards the purchase of chickens and cows. This will allow each home to grow their food, increasing the children's overall nutrition, saving money and providing products that can be sold in local markets, like milk and eggs.
Phase 4 is our exit period, as we now feel the homes have become self-sustaining within the realm of NAFA's work. We have treated the children in a way that offers long-term benefits; taught the children lessons related to self-care and relationship building; encouraged the staff and helped to make their days a little easier; and worked alongside the home to establish and build a sustainable, forward-moving project. Now we watch them thrive!