Herbs and Vegetables Garden: A Community Project for good nutrition and health

The MEALenium Project is known to provide nutritious meals to the malnourished children of Payatas as a means to address the increasing rate of malnutrition in the country. What started out as a humble feeding center of two teenagers, Joshua Tan and Basti Belmonte became a life-changing and sustainable project that serves over 1,000 meals per day for wasted or severely wasted children in the community.

In photo: Donated pots of medicinal herbs and vegetables such as malunggay and alugbati

Now, The MEALenium Project is taking a healthier step to improve the condition of their chosen community. In addition to the feeding program, Feeding Center Chair, Alexa Kahn recently launched the Herbs and Vegetables Garden Project that aims to educate the community about the benefits of Herbs and Vegetables for overall nutrition and as medicinal cures for common illnesses such as cough, colds and skin rashes.

Pots filled with medicinal herbs and vegetables were brought to the feeding center and members of the community also helped grow seeds in planter boxes provided for them. A specialist, Dr. Gonzales was invited to talk about when and how to use these plants for nutrition and overall good health.

In photo: Dr. Gonzales talks about the benefits of common herbs and vegetables to the parents of the feeding center.

The medicinal herbs brought to the community aims to address the top five most common diseases in Payatas. One of them is Tawa-Tawa, an effective combatant for dengue, and another is Oregano which can alleviate symptoms of respiratory illnesses. The garden also contains Turmeric which is used for inflammation, Aloe Vera that can be used as a salve for galis or skin disease, and Malunggay to boost immunity and to combat malnourishment.

The Herbs and Garden Project is the brainchild of The MEALenium Project’s present Feeding Center Chair, Alexa Kahn. She was motivated to undertake this project after noticing the high cost of medicines in the community, which many of their beneficiaries cannot afford.

“In the past year, I noticed that after the children reached a normal weight, as soon as they got sick again, they would return back to their malnourished state. I realized that the recovery of the kids took longer because they could not afford medicine and healthy food while at home,” Kahn said.

In photo: Alexa Kahn teaching the kids how to use aloe vera for skin rashes.

Kahn researched about different herbs that were scientifically proven to be able to cure common diseases. She consulted a specialist on Philippine herbs about their medicinal characteristics and help plant the critical ones and decided to bring this idea to The MEALenium.

Kahn hopes that this addition will have a lasting effect on the Payatas community in the Philippines. The community now has their own source of nutritious vegetables for their meals, and highly effective sources of vitamins as well as cures for their common diseases. #