[00:00:00] We have children who are depending on us and they don’t care what our excuses are, natural disaster or man made or whatever it is. They need these foods urgently, and it’s our job to do anything in our power to make sure that it gets there on time or we’ve failed them.
Welcome to The Mentor Files. I’m your host, Monica Royer, founder and CEO of Monica Andy. Join me as I chat with leaders across the fields of entrepreneurship, parenthood, health, and lifestyle. This season we’re digging deeper than ever before to learn the story behind the story. Think of the show as one part Audible MBA and one part certification to be the confident CEO of your own life.
Monica Royer: Here we go.
Three, two, one. Our guest today is Navin Salem, the founder of Adesia, which is an incredibly [00:01:00] inspiring and impactful nonprofit organization that is working to end malnutrition around the world. Navin is someone who recognized a problem and immediately set out to change it, all while balancing life as a mom of four young kids.
Today, we spoke about our path to Adesia, her experience leading a global nonprofit, and how motherhood has given her strength as a leader. I’ve known Navin for a short time and our conversations always motivate me to seek out ways to help others. I think you will feel the same after listening to this episode.
Our guest today is Navin Salem, who is the incredible founder of aia, a nonprofit that I cannot wait for everybody to hear about. I was fortunate enough to meet, uh, Navin at a venture capital conference, and we’ll get more into that story. But in the meantime, Navin, I would love for you to introduce yourself and welcome.
Navyn Salem: Thank you. Can I interrupt though and just say I lost you for half of that intro so I’m not sure it could be mine
Monica Royer: Oh, interesting. Huh? Okay.
Navyn Salem: and
Monica Royer: yeah, let me know. You guys feel free to,
Navyn Salem: pause and you can you can edit right if I can’t hear what she’s saying.
Monica Royer: Definitely. And so what And I just basically said your name, and you’re the founder of Adesia, and
Navyn Salem: Okay.
Monica Royer: all I said so far. So, anyway, and then I said to tell us a little bit about yourself.
Navyn Salem: All right. Action.
Monica Royer: Action! Okay, so tell us a little bit about yourself.
Navyn Salem: Thanks for having me Monica. I’m happy to be here. Um, So about me, let’s see. I, I started Edesia back in 2007. Um, at the time I had four daughters under the age of five. Um, so there was a lot of juggling going on, but strangely at the same time I was also wondering, What am I going to do when they get into kindergarten?
[00:02:00] I’ll need something to, to fill my time. And so I, I didn’t have a lot of time to do, but I had a lot of time to think. And, uh, and so my mind often wandered to Tanzania. And that is where, um, my dad’s side of the family is from. I had only been to Tanzania, uh, once, after I graduated from college. But I learned enough in that trip to really understand what life is like, um, for mothers.
And when I was trying to think about my own challenges, where I have a CVS down the street, a grocery store, running water, a roof over my head, uh, and wondering how I’m struggling to make it through the, through the day, I couldn’t help but always remembering how resilient mothers around the world are able to care for their children.
Monica Royer: And, it’s so interesting, Navin, so I remember the very first time I saw you, we were at a venture capital conference over the summer. I had my daughter with me as I, as I often do, and I remember we had just gotten through, I [00:03:00] don’t know, it was like four or five hours of talks on A. I. I mean, everything was like driven by A.
I. and technology, and I understood that there was like a non profit segment that was coming up. I was incredibly excited. And right before you started talking, my daughter said, I have to go to the bathroom and I remember one of those hotels were like a trip to the bathroom was like a 20 minute round trip.
And so we got up and started to walk towards the door. And your words and the impact that you had struck me within the first five seconds of you starting to talk. And I was absolutely blown away. And I remember I said to Bella, I said, can you hold it? Because like, if you can hold it, like, I really would love to hear what this woman has to say.
Can you share even a snippet of that story that you shared that I think probably stops everybody in their tracks?
Navyn Salem: Yeah, it’s funny. I hadn’t told that story to anyone before in that context, so you were the guinea pig, I guess, but I remember what it was. Um, so I was telling the story of imagine that you’re, you’re walking to work one day and you, [00:04:00] you pass a lake and in the lake you see that there is a child and they’re, they’re drowning.
And so you’re wondering, what do I do? I only have a minute to think. Am I gonna run in and save that child while my, my pants will get wet, I’ll get dirty, I’m on my way to work, I’m, I could be late, um, but there’s no one else around, what should I do? And so I, my guess was most people would run into that water, grab that child and pull them to safety, and then go deal with their wet clothes and being a little bit late for work later. And, and so I have had the chance to be able to see. That scenario, time and time again, when you substitute in the issue of malnutrition, where a child is, is days away from dying because they don’t have access to food and nutrition. You can’t be in the same room and just push it aside and put it out of your mind.
You can’t unsee. What you’ve [00:05:00] seen and and I so I take that story and then think okay now that story is happening Halfway around the world. We know what’s happening. What what can we do about it? What should we do about it? and what’s the difference between it happening right there next to you and happening around them and kind of just like wrestling with those topics of you know, what are we responsible for?
What can we do? What are the different ways that we can take action when we see a problem in the world? And, I personally, I love problem solving. If I see a problem, I also see a solution. And, and it’s my hope that others, especially in this conference, we’re also, entrepreneurs are looking for problems in the world that need to be solved of, of all different kinds.
And so that was kind of the point is like, what would you do in that situation? And I think most of us Uh, would run and rescue that child in that moment,
Monica Royer: Absolutely. And the other [00:06:00] really poignant thing that I remember you saying, because everybody that was at this conference was building their business and building to profitability. And Navin stood in front of this whole room. Of financiers and entrepreneurs and said, Hey, I’m the one person that wishes that I would be going out of business in the sense that, like, I wish that there was no, there was none of this malnutrition and that our work here was done and we could close up shop and say that we did it.
And I also felt like that was so profound in the sense that, of course, what you’re building is so massive and what you’re doing is so incredible. And yet you wish that there was that you didn’t even have to do it and that it just didn’t exist. And I thought, wow. You know, when I think about some of the hardships of the day to day life of building a business since I met you, I often think about you and the things that you and your team face and the scale at which you face them where, where it really, where there really are life and death decisions that are being made, and you kind of have to recenter yourself if you’re doing almost anything else and think, are these really life or death decisions that are being made?
Because there’s people [00:07:00] out there that are making those every day, and there is a much heavier weight that falls on that. Yeah.
Navyn Salem: I know, I think when I tell people, Oh, we’re working on an expansion, they say, Congratulations. And I said, No, it means we’re failing. We’re not doing a good enough job in the world. That if my business is growing, it’s only growing because conflicts are growing. Climate change is taking a bigger toll on, uh, on people who are forced to go in mass migration to safety or places where they can access food.
So every time we add another machine or build on another part of the building, I feel like we have, we have not worked hard enough on addressing the root causes of this problem and we never celebrate, uh, growing or expanding or, um, you know, when business is good, the world is bad. So it’s, it’s always the opposite here and, and I really am trying to figure out how we put ourselves out of business in terms of these very [00:08:00] acute humanitarian crisis.
emergencies that we’re responding to, um, and trying to figure out how we, how we can make change there and get them to stop so we don’t have to be here forever.
Monica Royer: Absolutely. So, Navin, tell us a little bit about the origins of starting a DCS. You identified a really significant global problem, and the thing that surprised me so much about your tenacity and your perseverance when I met you and your team was, I don’t think it’s a problem that people wouldn’t realize was out there.
I mean, it’s a problem that, like, you have awareness to as a general human being living here in the United States, but it’s not one in which you think to yourself, I could tackle that and potentially solve it. If somebody hasn’t been able to do that yet, and yet that is exactly what you did. You thought about it, and you said to yourself, this is actually a problem that I’m capable of tackling and figuring out how to hopefully solve.
And so, how did you, what were even the first steps? You’re now doing it on such a massive scale, and we’ll get to that, but like, what were the first things that you did?
Navyn Salem: Yeah, I [00:09:00] mean, the first thing is to leave your house and go out and wander and see what’s going on in the world. And that doesn’t mean you have to go to Tanzania. It means you can go to your local school or your town or city closest to you, whatever it is. In your own community or halfway around the world, you’ll see that there are things that can be done better everywhere.
And we can learn, we can also learn what’s being done really well at the same time. So on one of my trips to Tanzania, I, um, met a company that was making mosquito nets. And they were employing thousands of women. With good paying jobs and, uh, the fact that this business model was taking, um, you know, a regular business kind of manufacturing, sewing.
There were like 3, 000 sewing machines with women standing behind them, um, making something that solved a major global health problem. I thought, that’s an incredible win win because you’re handing out paychecks, [00:10:00] which is one of the root causes of poverty. If I’m earning, uh, pay, I can pay for my… Food and shelter and schooling and medicine, et cetera.
Um, and then to be able to solve a global health problem in that business model is what we now call a social enterprise. This was so long ago that I didn’t even know that label existed. And so it was kind of seeing that for the first time, that ability to cross business with doing good that allows you to take a problem and do it at scale versus some of the old, more old fashioned ways, you know, It’s just development and we just hand out things for free.
You know, there’s a lot better ways to do that that, um, can hand out paychecks and do really serious economic development. in countries who are struggling with malnutrition. So I thought this business model was really beautiful, um, that you can, you can have it all, right? You don’t have to choose between just, just doing business or just being a do gooder and expected to [00:11:00] live like a homeless person.
It’s like, no, there’s the ability to do both. That was my inspiration to now taking, uh, a global health issue that wasn’t being talked about at the time. Um, and figuring out how to add the manufacturing piece to that, um, and turn it into a real business.
Monica Royer: Naven, can you put into the context for us, like, can you define a little bit of like what malnutrition actually is? Because I feel like I got a big education on that when I came to a DC at two thinking about, you know, there’s so much hunger, uh, which is terrible to begin with. And then there’s hunger and there’s malnutrition on top of that.
Um, and maybe start there and then give us a little bit of an idea globally of the scale of some of what you faced in the time that you’ve been doing this.
Navyn Salem: Okay, so, um, hunger and malnutrition are very different. Malnutrition is, you really need to look at both the calories and the, the nutrition, the micronutrients and the macronutrients that are, are in your food. So let’s say if I [00:12:00] just feed you rice every single day, you will be not hungry. but you will be malnourished.
You aren’t getting the nutrients that are needed to grow your body and your brain. That is critical to children, uh, under the age of five, specifically even under the age of three. That’s when we have the opportunity to build those brains. When you’ve built the brain, no one can take that away from you.
So that’s why, one reason it’s very important. But if you don’t do it at that young age, you can’t get it back either. So an opportunity like that is lost for life. And that’s what we really have to make sure. that we are not sending children out into school and we realize at age seven that they don’t have the mental capacity to learn, we’ve lost them and there’s nothing we can do.
So that’s why looking at malnutrition is really important. Malnutrition will also lead to half of the childhood deaths that exist. So if you have malaria, and you are malnourished, you are much less likely to survive [00:13:00] than if you’re a well nourished child. So there’s so many implications that are tied to this basic nutrition, not only to survive, but to have lives that are, you know, that are going to be lives that are thriving at the same time.
So
Monica Royer: That’s something that really struck me because I, I didn’t have the education to really understood that. And one of the things that blew me away as I was talking to you and your team was this idea that, you know, I had always considered that I didn’t know the difference between hunger and malnutrition to start.
And then it never occurred to me that. There was like this certain set of nutrients that like if you weren’t just feeding somebody rice or just feeding them this like basic meal That there was all these micro and macro nutrients that were really important like during this developmental time frame And so it seems like the mission of Adesia has been to get children at that age and stage and to be able to bring That nourishment to them.
Can you tell everybody a little bit about Plumpy Nut and the product and some of what went into like actually [00:14:00] getting that level of Nutrition to these, to these individuals.
Navyn Salem: yeah, so this is, this is a packet of Plumpy Nut. And it’s 500 calories, um, and it’s intended for basically breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a severely malnourished child. And let me see if I can put one of these together while I’m talking. Um, what we do to measure how somebody is severely malnourished is we’ll measure the mid part of their arm.
And this little tape works for anyone under the age of 5. Um, so for those of you who are listening, you’re gonna have to be imagining. Like, the top of your arm is the width of a quarter, so that is the arm of a severely malnourished child. After eight weeks of plumping up, it grows. It almost doubles in size.
And we’re trying to eventually get those arms out to this level. And so, um, Plumpy Nut is a mixture of peanuts, milk powder, [00:15:00] sugar, whey, vegetable oil, and tons of vitamins and minerals. And it’s like a food by prescription. So based on your age, your height, your weight, the, uh, healthcare workers will prescribe you with a certain amount.
So typically, a two week supply, because mothers have walked a fairly long distance to get to their clinic. Um, and then they’re plotted on a, on a chart, just like we do when we take our kids to the pediatrician. Height and weight, where are they on, on the scale. And so, when they come back two weeks later, we intend to see very big progress.
And if not, we know to check for things like, is there sharing going on in the family? Is there another complication that needs to be dealt with? If there are no complications, they go home. That’s the beauty of this product is before you had to be inpatient in the hospital. This costs huge amount of resources.
There would be three children to a bed. How are mothers going to deal with their other four kids at home when one is terribly ill? And so [00:16:00] this allows mothers to take everything home with them, feed their children at home, which also is really a sense of empowerment because if you can’t feed your children, For sure, you are not feeling like you’re being successful, right?
And, and we don’t want mothers to feel like that. We want to give them the tools to be able to feed their children and be proud of the efforts that they’re making to ensure that they’re, they’re healthy. So that’s basically how, how the, the system works.
Monica Royer: That’s really interesting to understand. Even, and I remember for people that can’t see the little tape measure, um, I remember standing with Bella, as we were going through the Adesia factory, and they, you all have so nicely set up sort of what some of these clinics would look like in real life. And I remember her saying, Hey mom, I actually think that would fit around my wrist.
And I said, It’s not the wrist that they’re talking about. They’re literally talking about the upper arm. And that was so astounding because it’s not even comprehensible. I don’t think if you haven’t seen it. to imagine [00:17:00] seeing somebody who’s, like, she’s probably never seen somebody whose upper arm would have been that small during adolescence.
So it’s hard to even imagine the scale, Naven, of some of what you and your team have seen.
Navyn Salem: Yeah, and the fact that, you know, when I first started doing this work, when I had all of my little kids, I knew what a two year old should look like. I had one, and the weight of a two year old in Tanzania was the same weight as my newborn.
Monica Royer: Mm hmm.
Navyn Salem: So, and the fact that a two year old can even stand up, barely, and weigh only 10 or 11 pounds, is an extremely difficult thing to, to deal with.
And that took me quite a long time to process, um, just how severely malnourished children can be. And how in this day and age can we still know that these children are out there and exist when we know exactly what needs to be done to fix it?
Monica Royer: And I [00:18:00] think you struck right at the heart and almost, like, it, it, like, was emotional to visit your factory again, just stepping outside of the normal day to day and, like, Something that you think about every single day, but I have definitely not thought about every day. And I think you struck at the chord, which is, as a mom here in the United States, and of course there’s like a scale of people that are struggling with many different things here.
Fortunately, you know, I’ve never been faced with like, I can’t feed my daughter today, and I know I only come a generation off of, you know, my mom was an immigrant from India, and although they were not suffering from like, generally hunger or malnutrition. They sometimes had two meals to eat instead of three, and they, they shared food in that way.
But to not be able to feed your child when they’re hungry is something that is, I cannot imagine how difficult that is. And even as a mom, if you’re also hungry and starving on top of that too, the ability to have the energy that you would need to manage what’s happening [00:19:00] with your child, I just, I can’t imagine how difficult that must be for families and for parents.
Navyn Salem: Yeah, so we also do make products for mothers, pregnant mothers and malnourished pregnant mothers. We’re really trying to address the first 1, 000 days of life, which is from conception to age two. So that means involving the mother and trying to make sure we have better, healthy weight outcomes to even get the children off to the best start from day one.
One of the other ways to think about the importance of, of Plumpy Nut is if you think about, I I don’t think it was last summer, but the summer before. There was the formula outage here in the United States. And it was on the news every night that, uh, formula was running out. Now, this is a problem because there’s some children who can only Eat formula.
You can’t say, Oh, we’re just going to switch you over to cookies and bread and bananas. It was, it’s a real need for children in certain situations and in [00:20:00] certain ages. That is what Plumpy Nut is like as well for severely malnourished children. There aren’t other foods that you can just start feeding them.
That will help bring them back when they’re that severe and also that will work to build those brains. So when we have supply chain challenges here, it’s similar to that. But in the United States, we had planes flying from Australia to bring formula over to make sure that that That didn’t happen here, but I think that was just, that’s the fear level, and for the first time I could see it here in the United States, that mothers were really fearful of what was going to happen if that plane didn’t land from, from Australia to kind of give them what they desperately needed for their babies.
That’s what we feel too, um, if our products are not getting to where they’re needed. It’s not like, there isn’t a substitute, um, that can help when we’re in this stage of life.
Monica Royer: Absolutely. And tell us a little bit, when we came and were, had the honor of like [00:21:00] touring your factory and one of the places that you make your product, can you talk a little bit about the scale of how many of these bars were made a day and a little bit about sort of the 24 7 operations? Because I’ve never seen anything like it.
Navyn Salem: Yeah, so, uh, we make about 1. 5 million of these packets per day, um, and we needed to double this year because, uh, Ukraine really triggered this, you know, last year, um, With Ukraine holding the majority of the breadbasket of the world and all of those grains being still trapped in the black seaport, uh, in addition they, um, Russia and Ukraine are responsible for a huge percentage of fertilizer in the world too.
So not only are we not farming, Uh, not releasing existing grains, but we’re also impacting yields for the foreseeable future. This triggered that not only are you going to have rising food prices in lower income countries, but [00:22:00] middle income countries are going to be affected too. The whole world woke up when they realized that, um, So many more countries would be affected by this and how are we going to be prepared to feed this many extra people?
So additional funding came in from the U. S. government and many other countries around the world to support that as well. And so, that effort meant, oh, Edesia and all the other suppliers in the world, we need you to come up with twice the output. Next month. Okay. So what’s the fastest right way to double your capacity with very little warning?
Monica Royer: hmm.
Navyn Salem: So we hired a little over 20 people last December in 2022 so that in January of 23, we started running 24 7 So that in a few extra added machines allowed us to double our output immediately So you can say sadly those numbers aren’t [00:23:00] disappearing But the, I guess the good news is funding levels have stayed consistent so that we can continue the output at this level in order to deal with these heightened levels of crises.
And that’s before, I mean every single week we add a new disaster. Um, to the news cycle, it almost seems like how, how can it get any worse and it, and it does right as we’re all now today watching the whole Israeli Hamas situation play out and, and all of the Children in Gaza, uh, you know, there’s going to continue at this pace to be more crises that we need to be ready for, um, and serve that, that purpose to be kind of, we’re like the second responders.
We don’t show up on day one. Children aren’t malnourished the second that they are in a crisis. But within one to two months, yes, that’s when they will start to, if they’ve been displaced from their home, they don’t have access to regular foods, that’s when [00:24:00] we’ll be needed, and we end up staying for the long term.
Um, you know, it can, in Syria, it’s been 13 years that we’ve been, um, delivering food to, to Syria.
Monica Royer: Naven, going back to what you said a few moments ago, I just want to highlight 1. 5 million bars a day are made at the factory that we came and visited. I mean, the scale of that, the efficiency of it, the cleanliness of it, the checks and balances system that you have. I mean, I don’t think it’d be, you couldn’t do it justice without taking people on a tour of it to see it, but was really incredible and impactful.
And what you just said about the world crises that are happening. It’s not even just making the bars. It’s how do you actually get the bars to these children in crisis that I know is a whole nother mountain that you and your team are also climbing on a daily basis and It’s not easy, you know It’s not like you’re just walking into the middle of these war zones and dropping off this product for [00:25:00] these malnourished kids So, can you tell us a little bit about?
The actual logistics that you deal with oftentimes to safely get this product to, to the kids that need it most.
Navyn Salem: So luckily, most of what we do is handled by the World Food Program, the U. S. government, and UNICEF. And they are really professional logistics companies, especially WFP. That’s what they do. They’re moving food in mass quantities to difficult places. So you see their trucks waiting at the border of Gaza this week, and you’ll see them on the front lines of everything.
So most of the time, they tell us what port to get it to. And, um, these days that’s fairly simple. We’ve gotten over the supply chain challenges of COVID. Um, but we also do fundraise for containers of product that don’t go to the United Nations or the U. S. government. They’re small NGOs that are in the middle of nowhere and it’s our job to [00:26:00] then deliver it right to their hospital.
And so we do that in about 15 different countries. And each one of those containers comes with a, it could have its own blog because it always goes through challenging times. Uh, we have one container that goes to the Nuba Mountains in Sudan. We’ve been doing this for at least nine, maybe ten years. And we have to hire an armored truck driver, um, because it’s a dangerous path that it has to take to get to this hospital.
We have to take into account rainy season, which is not just, it’s raining. It means an entire… Roads and villages get flooded and you can’t transport, so we’re always looking for trying to mitigate that in the first place, but then when a problem does come about, how creative can we get to move that? So one time this truck, uh, I mean we’ve had bridges wash out, everything has happened, everything happens that you can, and things you can’t even imagine.
So this truck is now stuck, everything is [00:27:00] flooded, can’t go anywhere, so we got a tiny little plane. And just put a few boxes on there, like 20 boxes, just to make sure that the supply chain didn’t break so the truck could wait to be able to find another path or move into smaller trucks in order to cross, um, what became rivers.
And so, all the time, I have these three words on my door, it says, find a way. We have children who are depending on us and they don’t care what our excuses are, natural disaster or man made or whatever it is. They need these foods urgently, and it’s our job to do anything in our power to make sure that it gets there on time or we’ve failed them.
And so, it, it’s a, it’s a wonderful opportunity to sharpen your problem solving skills every single day. To make sure, because we have a roadblock every single day, and it’s different, so we get to learn new tactics on a daily [00:28:00] basis of how to, you know, uh, get around the problem of the day. But, we know our why, and that’s what motivates us.
My team here comes from 25 different countries. So we all, in our own unique ways, understand what it’s like to be in one of these crisis areas, and how. dependent you are on someone coming to save the day, uh, in that moment of tragedy.
Monica Royer: Wow. That is, uh, quite the weight for you and your team that you carry on your shoulders. But it sounds like you’ve, you’ve found your way through many different… Problems and and overcome them to be able to deliver. Let’s talk for a minute. Even about the personal side of the story You said when you at the onset of our chat that you had like four young kids when you started this I Mean to balance that and the challenges like when you know, you’re sitting down and like the problems It’s kind of hard [00:29:00] to turn that off when you come home, right if you’ve got a truck that can’t make it through or production issues What are some of the challenges that you face just to parent yourself doing this, the job that you’ve done?
Navyn Salem: Yeah, I, I don’t think that I’ve done this very well. I will say I’ve learned a lot and what I wouldn’t do next time around. Um, you know, I still to this day, um, leave work by three o’clock to be home. for the girls, um, to just be there for them. And so every year I kind of adjust my schedule based on what their needs are.
I’m not even sure they know that I have a job, uh, at least when they were little they didn’t know. Um, and, and I’m not saying that that was the right thing to do. It’s just, I was always trying to just be there, be reliable, be a calm source of, you know, Mom’s there to just help you along with your day. [00:30:00] At the same time I also did pack them up and drag them around the world with me, too.
Not as much as you get to do with Bella because there’s too many of them, but they did used to say, you know, Mom, why can’t we go to Florida on spring break like everyone else and I was like Well, no offense to Florida, but it’s kind of boring, and you won’t have a story from Florida. But you will have a story from our time in Haiti, and Guatemala, and Sierra Leone.
You have endless stories, and those are the things that you’ll remember throughout your life. Uh, and for two reasons. One, to never be afraid of the world. Um, and to understand that when you, uh, have that bravery to go out and, and meet new people, like how much you can learn and how much opportunity there is out there in the world to connect with others.
Um, and again, I say it is just as [00:31:00] powerful as going to another town, um, as well. You can learn just as much from being in a different community in one zip code away from you is different too. And, um, so they, uh, for better or worse, grew up with, um, understanding what the real world is and understanding that they have a responsibility in their own way, uh, to do something about it.
Monica Royer: I love that, Navin. And I think like, even though you and I have met in more recent times and have different jobs, I think I always had this feeling the same as you were, you know, I was inspired to start this business because of my daughter. And I thought, even though the business is so busy for me, I don’t want it to take me away from her.
And so I think for moms or parents that are listening to this, I think there’s boundaries that you set up and you say, Hey, Hey, There’s things that I don’t want to miss, and here’s what I live by and what I do. And then, both you and I have had the additional privilege, it sounds like, of being able to [00:32:00] take them with us.
Um, for me, not to such far reaching places, although I am hoping to come with Adesia in this coming year, and to bring her with to see some of what you’ve seen, and for her to learn from that as well. But I think this idea that you kind of get to just, that your child doesn’t necessarily need to be entertained every moment by like, Other, like, other toys and games and videos and all of that, but that they can actually, that they actually get excited about what you’re doing as a mom.
I think we’ve both seen that, and sometimes not understand it, because, funny enough, um, and it’s not that we’ve got, gone to as far, as many far reaching places, but I remember Bella being, like, Wait, when we had a lot of stores, we did a lot of pop ups, she’s like it seems like everywhere we go there’s like a store that we have to visit because we were kind of trying to turn it into this feeling of a vacation.
So they definitely wise up and understand it, but I agree. I think there’s so much that they can learn and the older that she gets, it seems like the more she actually like appreciates it and enjoys it.
Navyn Salem: still young. You [00:33:00] know, I waited. My job was not to scar them for life, but to just educate them on, on what the real world is. So depending, and even each child was different based on their different maturity levels. But the great thing is now they’re all old. And I can see how they’ve taken the lessons that they’ve learned and applied them in their own way.
So my 17 year old, um, took EMT classes all summer. And she loves the concept of saving lives in her own unique way. And she hopes to go to college and be on the student ambulance team. That’s her dream. And then I have another one studying global health, and another one studying environmental science, my activist girl.
Um, and so they, they have seen that it’s possible to make big change in your world. And they are all, it’s just wonderful to watch them, how they’re each choosing their own path. Um, and they’re all [00:34:00] wanderers too. Um, my fourth one just moved to Australia, of course. You can’t go anywhere farther than Australia.
Um, but, you know, so I, I feel like all that work and, uh, has, has paid off in, in that they are, they’re very comfortable wandering the world and understanding that they have, uh, an opportunity to do something and something that keeps them up at night. So, I, I’m so proud of them and, and it’s so fun to watch them as they get older.
So Bella can, she’ll have her time. She’s still young though.
Monica Royer: Definitely. Well, and I’m sure they’re so proud of you and all the work that you’ve done. Um, for anybody that’s listening to this, Naven, how can they help and get involved today to support Edesia and the mission?
Navyn Salem: I mean, the easiest thing is to follow us on social media. Um, we sometimes have opportunities where you can write to your, your representatives on some policy change. Uh, we work on a lot of advocacy [00:35:00] and policy work in D. C. We can share that information. Um, I know newsletters sound like really boring and old school, but we actually do send digital ones, obviously.
But to kind of keep people up to date on what we’re doing. And if you’re in the area, uh, we’re in Rhode Island. You can come by and take a tour, have a look around. It’s so fun to see how things are made. And we have school groups that come through here all the time. Um, and I’ve even done virtual, uh, Tours for for elementary school.
I, they’re my favorite questions. Getting questions from second graders is the most fun ever. Um, they like to tell me about all the flavors I should consider like Oreo and Marshmallow, plumpy nut, and things like that. So that’s always fun to expose children as early as possible to you know, anything and everything that they can.
So, um, and of course, you know, if you want to send a check We [00:36:00] take that money and put it directly into those containers where the, those smaller non profits wouldn’t have nutrition programs otherwise. Um, and those are really impactful because we know those, those, uh, NGOs very, very well and are very trusted partners doing amazing work in the field.
Monica Royer: Naven, I’m so grateful that I met you. Monica and Andy is excited to join you on this mission this year and become as involved as we possibly can. This podcast is one of our first steps to raise awareness of what you and your team are doing and really excited to build a partnership going forward and, and just support you and your team in any way we can, in any way that we can on this mission.
Just so in awe. of what you’ve built and what you’ve done. And again, I think about you and your team all the time and just the things that you face. So, um, if no one else says, like, job really well done, because I, you know, I’ll say it for you, for, on behalf of everyone, that, like, what you’ve built, sometimes you don’t necessarily have a chance to step back and take a look at [00:37:00] it, but the impact that you’ve made since you identified that problem, Um, is just, it, it was actually just mind boggling and amazing to see when I came to visit.
What you’ve built is really special and incredible. Congratulations on your support of, like, stuff that’s happening, not right in front here as much, but what feels like a world away.
Navyn Salem: Yeah. Thank you so much, Monica.
Monica Royer: Oh my gosh, thank you. And I think Adam Matlick can conclude the official part of this. I want to make sure, since we are running late.
Moving to the outro. Three, two, one. I hope you enjoyed the episode. As Navin says, there is a cure for malnutrition and you can help deliver these resources to communities who need them by donating to Adesia. You can learn more at adicianutrition. org. Another great way to help is sharing this episode of the mentor files with a friend or by leaving a review wherever you listen to podcasts.
I’m your host, Monica Royer. See you next time. All right. 3, 2, 1. Our [00:38:00]