Doing our bit for the community – the EPGP way

The preparations for Prayaas Day have started in right earnest. This is an old blog which I have written when we had started Prayaas activities in July when EPGP 5 started working towards this cause. Thought of sharing it here.
“Do you see those Twinkling eyes? PRAYAAS is all about keeping that hope alive & help build the future!!! A Small Nutrition related initiative by PRAYAAS in Magadi…”   Prayaas, as the name explains, is the small initiative by IIMB EPGP students to do their bit for the society and contribute towards making this world a little better. One of the key drives started in 2012 by Prayaas team was ‘Project Nutrition’ at Rajeev Gandhi Colony in Magadi in district Ramanagara. This project nutrition was started with the aim of creating a sustained activity and was very close to EPGP 2012. As part of this, children from the age group of 1-5 years are provided milk enriched with nutritional malt. This provides children with necessary supplements and aids in normal growth.

Eleven of us (Chithra, Hari, Kiran, Partha, Krishna, Rahul, Nilesh, Vishal, Sampath, Ravi and myself) went to Magadi Village after our classes last Friday immediately after lunch. Enroute we saw the hills where blockbuster movie Sholay was shot. However, Chithra was not convinced despite sufficient evidence. We reached Magadi at 3:30 PM and were fortunate to reach at the same time when the nutritional milk was being served to the children. The children seemed to be quite happy with the enriched milk being provided to them. We met Saroja who is helping us in making this project successful and overseeing all the activities related with this. Saroja works with a Chiguru, a NGO, and is actively involved in the activities at Magadi. She mentioned that Rajeev Gandhi Colony is a designated slum and the inhabitants are the migrants from a small village in Tamil Nadu.

Government has contributed by opening a primary school and providing mid-day meals as part of Anganwadi project for children less than 5 years of age.  During the talks it came out that parents of these kids are spending their earnings in alcohol and do not provide milk or any other additional nutritional food to their children. We felt that children are being deprived of necessary nutrients because of this ignorance by their parents. This was key reason for need of such a project and where we are making a difference. The malt is being prepared in house by NGO as it is very costly to purchase readymade nutritional supplements. The project runs throughout the year except for 15 days in June when the school is also closed and most of the families go to their native places.

Project Nutrition bringing smiles
We had some questions on how the success of the project is evaluated and the logistics involved. Normally statistics like weight and height are evaluated every couple of months which gives an indication of health of children. This project is helping in improving the health of around 50 children where 15 are in age group 1-3 and 35 are in age group 3-5. The total cost involved is ~Rs 10k to 12k pm including cost of milk, malt, the salary of person coordinating it. The total cost of project comes to ~Rs 1.3 lakh that is totally funded by Prayaas.

After going around the colony, we felt that there is still lot which can be done here. The Anganwadi teacher rightly pointed that lack of family planning is the basic reason behind most of the troubles. The parents do not give sufficient gap between births leading to malnutrition in these kids. We felt that these parents need to be educated probably taking the help of an NGO. It seems that they need easy access to medical facilities. Though there is a government hospital but the situation is not good. We are planning to collect toys and clothes which can be distributed to these kids and will help in bringing more smiles. We are also planning to organize some fund raising activities which will help in sustaining these activities and in doing more.

Every single smile brings more happiness in this world.

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