‘Balwadi Project’ is designed with the motto of ‘Cultivating Healthy Habits through Education’ in order to address the Educational as well as Health & Nutritional needs of slum children between 1 to 6 years of age. The project is run through 25 Balwadis spread across five different slum areas of Mumbai which have an approximate population of close to half a million. Due to problems of low income and unemployment, the parents are unable to provide pre-school education and proper nutrition to their children. The project helps address these needs along with preventing school drop outs in the future.
This project was started with the objective to facilitate immunization of the Balwadi children and to reduce the malnutrition level among them, thereby improving nutrition as well as attendance in schools.
There are several activities that are organized regularly at the Balwadis aiming at a holistic development of the children. Academic progress is ensured through activities like monthly and annual evaluation of the children and regular parent-teacher meetings. Health and developmental aspects are taken care of through the daily nutrition meals provided to the children which includes different items like Poha, Rajgira Ladu, masala bhat, lapshi and fruits. Balwadi children’s personality development is ensured through several extra-curricular activities like Celebration of National festivals, Sports day and drawing competition. The project, at a broader level also aims at integrating with the community by giving opportunity to the community members to involve as teachers or assistants at Mumbai Smiles.
A similar such initiative is the “Healthy Child Award” that is organized every month at the Balwadis. It is awarded on every parent teacher meeting to a child who has shown marked consistency in nutritional growth on all aspects like immunization, weight etc. The objective behind the award is to encourage students to inculcate healthy eating habits and to take care of their health.