Banswara-based Vaagdhara is helping children in need. These are children and adolescents who stay in750 villages of the tribal-dominated Banswara district in Rajasthan. The NGO helps children in need get nutritious food as part of the Poshan Swaraj Abhiyan.
With the country already battered by two waves of corona infection and the third one looming around the corner, it becomes imperative that children start receiving nutritious food. This is so because their health status is to be strengthened so that they don’t fall prey to the pandemic. The campaign seeks to protect the most vulnerable among undernourished children. That is why Vaagdhara helps children like them.
Children in need have to be helped
Banswara-based Vaagdhara works on tribal livelihood issues. The NGO has taken up this drive in collaboration with the district administration and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). About 67,000 children residing in five panchayat samiti areas of the district were screened at the start of the drive last week. The NGO aims to help children in need.
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Identified children have been provided with nutritious food cooked using local edible items at special nutrition and counselling camps in an attempt to reduce malnutrition levels. Vaagdhara says the camps have been organized in a participatory learning mode with predefined and planned activities. The aim is to help children in need.
The campaign is at present operative in Ghatol, Anandpuri, Sajjangarh, Kushalgarh and Gangadtalai panchayat samitis of Banswara district. A topic is chosen every day for discussion with tribal women and children in the camps, followed by an activity related to hand washing, cooking or child feeding.
Vaagdhara says children with moderate and severe malnutrition were identified through their weight and the measurement of mid-upper arm circumference. Thirteen children with severe illness along with undernourishment were referred to primary health centres, and two to malnutrition treatment centres at the district hospital.
Nutritious food is served to children
“With the use of local food items such as small millets, vegetables, sprouted grains, ragi and til laddoos and sama kheer, we have found that families practising integrated farming and growing kitchen gardens at home have succeeded in maintaining a correct nutrition level for their children,” sources at Vaagdhara said. These children would give a tough fight to coronavirus in the third wave, he said.
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Government sources say malnourished children were being tracked through a mobile app after their division into three categories. Anganwadi workers were regularly uploading information on the identified children and a decision on continuing the drive in a different form would be taken after an analysis of the results, he said. They added that the aim was to help children in need.
The campaign, which has so far found 16,909 children to be undernourished, has laid emphasis on traditional food crops grown in the tribal-dominated regions, which could play an important role in the food and nutritional security of local communities. Tribals traditionally consume millets and uncultivated forest foods rich in nutrients.