Team Suhrid visited Kaspada and Janathepada on 29th Dec 2013. The main objective was to meet the parents of the school kids, discuss current and future initiatives, take their feedback and communicate our expectations.
The visit started with the worship of Lord Ganesha at Kaspada. The students recited a beautiful prayer. Though the parents were tied up with the farming related work, the attendance was much more than expected. Despite of it being Sunday, all the students were present in their school uniform.
During the month of Dec, local sports meets / cultural programs were held at center and Talluka level. Kaspada students performed exceptionally well. Team Suhrid felicitated them in the presence of their parents as the next step.
Parents’ meets at Kaspada and Janathepada were on the similar line and was well presented and received. Since most of the parents were attending the meeting for the first time, the teachers explained the objectives of Suhrid foundation, which included working with the tribal kids in Vikramgad and surrounding areas to improve their health and lifestyle. Suhrid foundation currently covers 510 students from 8 schools.
The topics were covered jointly by Team Suhrid and the teachers. The details are hereunder.
How did Suhrid Foundation Approach?
Suhrid foundation conducted several camps in last one year apart from the regular meetings with the teachers. Based on the same, following problems were identified, which needed immediate attention.
- Though the mid-day meal was available, but it did not have essential vitamins, protein and minerals.
- Lack of calcium resulted in most of the elders having bow legs and joint related pain.
- Inappropriate hygiene and unavailability of pure water resulted in kids getting worms, which did not let the nutrients to be absorbed in the body.
- Most of the kids don’t drink enough water, which result in skin related problems.
- Skipping meals during holidays or in the absence of parents was another problem, which used to result in consistent weight loss.
- Body-ache, burning feet, Tingling sensation, eye problems, stomach-ache etc were very common amongst the kids.
Steps taken by Suhrid Foundation
Based on the above inputs, the doctors from team Suhrid worked out quite a comprehensive plan, wherein the execution of the plan was done with the help of the teachers. The steps included
- Enrichment of mid-day meal: Parents were explained that though the kids got mid-day meals, it just had plain dal and rice most of the time. Team Suhrid ensured that kids get different menu on each day, wherein the essential vitamins and minerals can be provided through the addition of vegetables like spinach, fenugreek (methi), flower, Gawar, Shepu etc.. Jaggery was recommended to improve iron. It not only helped kids get the essential nutrients, they started eating more since they found the food to be tasty as well. Increase in weight/height and energy level was reflected in their day to day activities as well as in the sports meet.
- Having improved on the Vitamin and Mineral side, Team Suhrid has included eggs as part of the diet to boost the protein intake.
- While the steps towards improving the hygiene or quality of water are being taken, Suhrid foundation provide medicines for de-worming. Parents were explained the importance of de-worming.
- At most of the places, the water was not as pure as it was expected to be. Team Suhrid provided steel tanks, wherein the pure water is stored for the kids. The water is filtered multiple times and then purified with the help of alum and chlorine tablets. Kids get purified water in the school.
- To improve the hygiene, the teachers taught kids to cut the nails regularly, wash hands/feet before the meals, wear clean dresses etc. Team suhrid sponsored the items required for improving the hygiene and personal grooming. These good habits would help the kids maintain good health even when they go out of the school.
- Parents were informed that the chances of kids getting worms are extremely high if they move around bare feet. Team Suhrid would sponsor the footwear to cover this as well.
Teachers also informed the parents that team Suhrid has not only restricted itself to meals and medicines. They have worked on the overall development of the kids. Each school has been provided with sports material and books. The results are quite evident in terms of their attendance, appearance and results in class as well as sports meet. As per the teachers, the biggest achievement is that the kid wants to remain neat and clean. They don’t want to come school unless their parents give them clean dress. Since these habits are getting developed in the kids, these would last even if they are not under any supervision.
Expectations from the Parents
Parents were informed that kids spend only 8 hours a day and 220 days in a year with the teachers. We observed that the kids lose lot of weight during the vacation since they don’t get the nutritious meal or the normal meal in the adequate manner. Hence, we listed down following items for the parents, which would ensure good health of the kids.
- Maintain the right attitude and spirit. All the parents suffer various physical ailments at this age since they were not taken care properly. They should pay attention to their kids’ health to protect them from ailments, which they have been going through.
- Kids should get full meal at home. Even if they are not able to provide completely nutritious meal, the kids should not sleep empty stomach.
- Kids should drink lot of water. Also, the water should be purified.
- Kids should have good habits such as cleaning teeth, bathing, cleaning hands/feet, applying oil, wearing clean cloths etc.
- Kids should be wearing sleepers.
- Kids should take de-worming medicines when the teachers are on vacation.
- They should inform teachers, if they find some abnormalities in the kids health.
- Suhrid foundation is sponsoring all the expenses. Hence, parents are not expected to spend money. However, if some help is required in the construction work, then they should help.
Team Suhrid would make three more such visits in next two months to cover the parents from the remaining six schools.