Nutrition for Children at Risk
Malnourishment among children which is claimed by many in our country as a ‘silent emergency’ takes the toll on many young ones especially those under 6 years. An estimated 2.3 crore of those who are able to access ICDS programmes in the country are malnourished. Many more remain beyond the reach of these anganwadis.
No child must go hungry. Through the help of Hand of Hope project of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Aawaaz addresses the basic right of 370 children to receive nutrition for good health and physical development. Through an increase in the feeding grant to all the centres, some of the administrative costs of the centres like allowances for cook, stationery, health and hygiene items, medicines etc. are being borne by each of the following feeding centres.
The following are the 11 feeding centres being supported by Hand of Hope through Aawaaz.
1. Bethel Day Care Centre- 60 children from the slum community come for lunch and tuitions to this project daily. Their fathers are sweepers and drainage cleaners while mothers work as maids in nearby houses. The children who are left to themselves throughout the day roam around the streets and eventually take to the streets for earning their livelihood either in tea shops or selling wares on the railway platform. The Day Care Centre provides a safe environment for them to study, play and have a hot, nutritious lunch.
2. SEED project in Salt Lake- In this project, 30 pre-school children from the slum come daily for a time of fun, games, learning and a meal. These children suffer from severe malnutrition and related illnesses. They have shown remarkable improvement in their physical growth and general health. The menu is carefully planned to suit their taste and ensure healthy eating.
3. Praanjal Project of Genesis- 25 children of all ages live in this residence for children at risk. Apart from growing up in a secure environment, these boys and girls give up their destructive lifestyle, develop healthy habits and have regular meals which foster their physical and mental growth. This has in turn helped them to excel academically.
4. Lee Memorial Girls’ Hostel- 20 children of Lee Memorial Girls’ Hostel who have been rescued from child labour or risky environments are given nutritional support. They receive formal school education and have shown good level of physical and mental growth. One of the children who had been supported by Aawaaz has now become Assistant Warden in the Home.
5. Community Learning Centre, Tangra- 30 children from the slum are given a hot meal here. For some of them, this is the only meal they eat in a day.
6. Feeding Centres for HIV/AIDS infected and affected children in 6 centres in Nadia, Bardhaman, Howrah, Hooghly, South 24 Paraganas and North 24 Paraganas Districts- A total of 210 such children receive a monthly ration of 8 kg rice, 500g Masoor dal, 500g Mustard Oil, 500g Soyabean, 1 dozen eggs and a packet of biscuits each. All the children have consistently shown increase in height and weight. Their CD4 counts have gradually increased and they are able to resist symptomatic infections better. Due to increasing numbers of new cases, ten per cent of the rations is set aside to meet their emergency nutrition requirements.
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