It was in October of last year that Nikole Janzen, a Registered Dietitian with Parkridge Centre in Saskatoon Health Region, embarked on a three-week volunteer trip to Haiti.

Nikole Janzen, a dietitian at Parkridge Centre, spent some time in Haiti last year, volunteering with children and seniors.

Nikole Janzen, a dietitian at Parkridge Centre, spent some time in Haiti last year, volunteering with children and seniors.

Janzen had ties to Haiti from previous trips in her youth and had always wanted to go back and contribute her nutrition knowledge and skills to the organization she had been involved with at that time.

During her three weeks in Haiti, Janzen spent time at an orphanage and seniors’ home run by the same organization, helping to teach the 32 children and interacting with the 10 seniors who live there.

“The whole purpose of my trip was simply to participate in life in Haiti, and to find ways to join in with the work already being done to help improve the lives of the people who live there,” Janzen said.

She was able to facilitate a nutrition class with older students at the orphanage, who are interested in nutrition but face many barriers, including lack of access to nutritious foods, when it comes to applying nutrition knowledge.

Janzen’s time in Haiti turned out to be a catalyst for the development of a Desperate Baby Care program based in the city of Limbe in Northern Haiti which will to help mothers or other caregivers learn how to properly feed and care for their young children.

Janzen has volunteered to help fundraise for this program and is hoping to return to Haiti for a period of time in 2016 to help with the start-up.

“Although malnutrition is certainly not unknown to Canada and other developed countries, seeing malnutrition in another country’s context has put things into perspective for me,” she said. “I hope to continue to use my education to help improve nutrition for those both in Canada and around the world.”