‘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.
Recently, a Vitamin and Albendazole supplementation program was organized across all our 25 Balwadis. Vitamin A should be given every four to six months to children aged 12 to 59 months while Albendazole tablets should be given every six months to children aged 24 to 59 months. Millions of children in more than 40 countries are receiving at least one Vitamin A supplement yearly very successfully. Vitamin A has no serious side effects and instead contributes to build the immune system, helping children to better cope with common diseases such as measles, diarrhea and respiratory infections. Studies show that, Vitamin A-supplementation also helps children to grow faster and be less anaemic. Albendazole tablets, on the other hand, eliminates parasites and improves nutritional absorption. These parasites consume about 1/3rd of the daily nutrition consumed by children infected by parasites. Hence, through the consumption of these tablets, diseases and complications due to susceptible parasites are reduced or eliminated.
At the supplementation program, 602 children were provided with Vitamin A tablets and 575 were provided with Albendzole tablets .These children belonged to age group of 2-5 years. The program was organized in collaboration with Vitamin Angels organization.
We hope to organize similar such events and programs in future and reduce the instances of diseases and deficiencies of important nutrients among our Balwadi children.