Improve children with Down syndrome's health through quality nutrition

Implementing preliminary medical checkups for 500 children with Down syndrome in the Gaza Strip (enrolled in RLS rehabilitation program), and identifying their health problems (anemia, hepatitis C, calcium deficiency, etc) associated with Down syndrome. Then these children are provided daily healthy, quantitative and qualitative meals, for 10 months, before they have another medical checkup to make sure that the problems that have been identified at the beginning of the campaign have been overcome.
The main objective of this campaign is to improve the health status and learning abilities for children with Down Syndrome, as well as support the social and economic status of poor families that have children with Down syndrome. Research shows that children's nutrition is significantly associated with the development of their educational abilities.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

1. Supporting and improving the nutritional and health status for 500 students by providing them with daily healthy meals.
2. Raising the level of academic achievement and intelligence for 500 students and giving them the required energy to complete their school day.
3. Improving the social and economic situation for the families of workers in the productive kitchen through employing 4 workers from poor families, especially families of people with Down syndrome.

HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED

Achieving indicators related to the first objective:
1.1 Distributing 32670 healthy meals for 165 children with Down Syndrome in the Kindergarten program.
1.2 Distributing 22770 healthy meals for 115 children with Down Syndrome in the Special Education Program.
1.3 Distributing 13860 healthy meals for 70 children with Down Syndrome in the prevocational program.
1.4 Distributing 28710 healthy meals for 150 children with Down Syndrome in the vocational program.

Achieving indicators related to the second objective:
2.1.1 500 children with Down syndrome have acquired cognitive skills related to studying, writing, copy and paste.
2.1.2 Increase of attendance rate
2.1.3 Decrease of absent rate

Achieving indicators related to the third objective:
4 of the families' economic and social situation has improved through employment in the project.

CAMPAIGN INNOVATIONS

This campaign is characterized by reliance on quality nutrition in the rehabilitation of children with Down and improvement of their education abilities, without reliance on drugs or chemicals.
The rehabilitation process for children with Down syndrome is a complex and long-term process, because of the associated health problems related to this syndrome, prominent heart and digestive problems, which significantly affect the overall health of the child.
Theses health problems affect the intestine's ability to absorpt and utilize the food and thus the efficiency of neurotransmitters low of the intestines and benefit the brain of limited food, which requires specific qualities and quantities of the food for these children.

CAMPAIGN IMPACT

Impacts for objective 1:
1.1 165 children with Down syndrome in Kindergarten receive daily meals.
1.2 115 children with Down syndrome in Special Education school receive daily meals.
1.3 70 children with Down syndrome in the prevocational program receive daily meals.
1.4 150 children with Down syndrome in the vocational program receive daily meals.

Impacts for objective 2:
2.1 500 students with Down syndrome have acquired academic skills.

Impacts for objective 3:
4 families of children with Down syndrome find appropriate work opportunities.

CHALLENGES FACED

- Persisting bad political and security situation which may affect beneficiaries by being not able to reach the RLS HQ to get the specialized services.
- The political and economic situations are stable in Gaza.
- The Israel attacks on the Gaza strip were suspended.
- Freedom of movement.
- Market prices are stable due to the steady economic conditions.

LESSONS LEARNT

In the future its highly recommended to expand the duration of such campaigns up to three years, in order to enhance the concept of the project at the community level as more could be learned about behavior and change when the implementation period is longer.
In the future it is recommended to target other categories such as Autistic children.
Strengthen the skills of professional staff in more specialized areas related to DS, also, dealing with their families in psychosocial issues.
All publicity material produced through the campaign should be republished and send it to universities, MOH, MOE interested parties and the local NGOs, also, it is important to make it available on the RLS website.
In conclusion: it happens according to environment protection requirements (recyclable) and it maintains meals quality, in addition it is used for awareness about Down syndrome rights and educational methods for the targeted group.

COUNTRY

Palestine

CITY

Gaza

WEBSITE

http://www.rightolive.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE

https://www.facebook.com/RLS.Palestine

TWITTER PAGE

https://twitter.com/RightToLiveGaza