Monday, July 13, 2015

It Is Just A Floor... Or Is It More?

 When Finding Freedom is working on a new referral, there are a myriad of issues to assess. The nutritional status, housing situation, economic stability (or lack thereof) and general health of the family are all high on our list of concerns. When did they eat last? Where are they residing and with whom? Are the children in the family forced to labor in the fields to support the family or are they in school? How did the mother become widowed and for how long has the family been in crisis?
Our assessment list goes on for pages, and the condition of their floor is at the bottom of page three of our documentation. Because malnutrition takes precedent over what a floor is made of.

Rosa's former house

Rosa, who is blind, with initial FFF food donations
A 2007 World Bank study of a Mexican government program to replace dirt floors with cement found that doing so "significantly improves the health of young children and family members ." Among the study's findings: "Substitution of dirt floors by cement floors in a house leads to a 78 percent reduction in parasitic infestations, a 49 percent reduction in diarrhea, an 81 percent reduction in anemia and a 36 to 96 percent improvement in cognitive development." Beyond this, adults reported "increased satisfaction with their quality of life."

New concrete floor
When Rosa was first referred to Finding Freedom her situation was dire. You can read more about her story here: 
 Rosa's story.
It took over a year of communicating, networking, raising and sending funds as well as working alongside Adopt-A-Village Guatemala before Rosa and her family were reunited, and better nourished. A concrete floor to replace the dirt that the family had been living in was one of the tools we used in creating a healthier environment for Rosa and her children.
The World Health Organization reports that 2 billion people worldwide are affected by soil borne parasitic infections. Our organization is a firsthand witness to the physical effects of this phenomenon. 
The concrete floors we budget for and install are not done for cosmetic purposes. They prevent interior flooding, cut down on mold infiltration and soil spores and when we can't afford beds, they keep family members from sleeping on wet dirt. 
The concrete floors in these photos of Rosa's new house are more than just a smooth surface for a blind widow to walk on. 
They are life changing. 

New home, healthier floors!