Peanut Butter Project

At the Baylor Pediatric Clinic in Lesotho, they see a constant stream of HIV-positive kids, from newborns to teenagers.  Many of them are AIDS orphans, living with an elderly grandmother or a teenage sibling who’s trying to hold the family together.  They do the best they can, surviving on little or no income.

Almost half of all children under 5 in Lesotho are growth stunted from chronic malnutrition.  Among HIV-positive kids, growth stunting is even worse, making children look 3-4 years younger than their actual age, simply because they never get enough to eat.

Among HIV positive kids, malnutrition causes increased susceptibility to infections, diarrhea, and tuberculosis.  And their HIV medicines are better tolerated when taken with food.

And how does malnutrition affect brain development? How much potential is lost every year because the children aren’t getting enough protein to feed their brains?

I’m tired of seeing 8-year-olds who look 5.

I know that we can’t save everybody, that we can’t solve the problem of poverty and malnutrition in Southern Africa.  But surely we can do something.

The Peanut Butter Project is an initiative to give a 1 kg. (2.2 lb) tub of peanut butter to every malnourished HIV-positive child at every doctor’s visit at The Baylor Pediatric HIV Clinics in Leribe and Qacha’s Nek.  It’s protein for a month.  It doesn’t need refrigeration.  It doesn’t require cooking.  And if they share it with their siblings, so what?  HIV-negative kids deserve to eat, too.

Peanut butter is the primary ingredient in Plumpynut, the medical supplement given to acutely malnourished children all over Africa.  But why not reverse malnutrition before it becomes that severe, before it stunts growth and slows brain development?

The Peanut Butter Project is a simple, low-cost intervention that can make a real impact for the children at The Baylor Pediatric HIV Clinics.  I want these kids to have enough to eat.  Will you help?