Investing in young children’s’ nutrition

Theodora Grivas and Lily Geerdts during one of their visits to a safe haven in Bloemfontein. PHOTOS: MARISKA VENTER - COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

The first few years of a child’s life has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become, which is why there is a stern need to invest in their emotional, social and physical development.

HeadStart Kids is a non-profit organisation which was founded in October 2015, and is committed to contributing to the early childhood development space. Three main components of the programme are nutrition, physical movement and enrichment education.

They were recently in Bloemfontein sharing their product, Little Bits nutrition, which is helping ensure that less privileged children in the country are developing to their full potential during the early stages of their life.

Lily Greeff during a recent visit to a safe haven in Bloemfontein.

“All this product is, is little sachets that the kids get daily with a meal. If you had to envision kale, beetroot, onions, potatoes and carrots all on one plate, and you dehydrate it and make it into a powder, that is what Little Bits is,” explained founder Lily Geerdts.

“We started with one of the safe havens three weeks ago, left them a month’s supply of products, came back after three weeks and the women working there had stars in their eyes. They could not believe the difference Little Bits had made in the children’s lives. The one child had sores and they looked like they were gone. I said yes, it’s because we are feeding the body at cellular level, and the cells are regenerating,” she added.

Geerdts continued that HeadStart Kids is aiming at reaching 5 million children in the country, improving their lives through their three main components. “At R50 a month, I can provide a child with porridge and a Little Bits nutrition. We measure them every three months so that we can report back on their progress. With Little Bits nutrition we have Care Global, a global company that provides all our field workers with tablets. We measure the weight, height and head circumference because that shows us any stunting immediately. We also always try and work with the local clinics to check that the child gets dewormed every six months, so we do that twice a year. And when they are three and up we do testing for iron deficiency. And we find that in some of the rural areas it’s really bad, and if you retest six months later you see a massive improvement in the children,” added Geerdts.

To find out how you or your company can assist further, visit– Seithati Semenokane