Around the world, every country has segments of the population that are underfed or undernourished. The situation in Haiti – the northern hemisphere’s poorest country – though, is particularly severe, and access to food is precarious at best for much of the population. Out of such situations, are borne some pretty alarming statistics. Some that concern us the most: It’s currently estimated that 100,000 Haitian children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition, one third of Haitian women and children are estimated to be anemic, and one child out of three has stunted growth or will be permanently short for their age.

The impacts of malnutrition obviously extend well beyond children’s physical abilities, and bleed over into their cognitive and educational outcomes. In other words, a lack of nutritious food can mean not only an inability to focus in school, but very real repercussions for the development of a child’s brain. Think of the very real impact that has on children’s lives, and on their ability to help shape their society. We need to help break the cycle and protect Haiti’s future leaders and innovators.

For these reasons, the goal of the Chef Jouvens Foundations’ JouJea Bear program is to take in at-risk children to ensure that they have access to the food and life skills they’ll need to reach their full potential. In addition, it aims to help families and kids make better nutritional choices – and as we’ll learn next time on the blog – these positive decisions about nutrition can actually help low-income families save money.