The Situation in India
The hunger and poverty rates in India are high, especially in rural areas where a majority of the population lives, a third of them in poverty. To give you an idea, 24% of the world’s hungry live in India: 195.9 million, or 14.5%, are malnourished, including nearly 45% of children under age 5. In the Tansa Valley, malnutrition and poverty rates are higher.
The negative health and economic impact of malnutrition can affect communities for generations. Lack of proper nutrition impedes children’s physical and intellectual growth; makes them more susceptible to disease and more likely to remain health-challenged in adulthood; and adversely affects their life-long earning power.
Here’s our Approach
- We start at the beginning with our Reproductive and Child Health Program, educating women on the importance of nutrition in prenatal care and childcare to ensure healthy pregnancies, births and beyond.
- We monitor nutritional health for infants and young children at our Family Health Center and provide health checkups and education to adolescents through our School Health Camps.
- Kitchen Gardens are ways to engage the whole family in growing fresh, nutritious vegetables. We provide the seeds and technical assistance throughout. Kitchen gardens help to diversify a family’s diet and sometimes provide extra to sell at market, boosting family income.
- When women are empowered, families eat better and girls are more likely to get an education. Our Women’s Self-Help Groups (SHG’s) help women save and invest in each other, get business training, and build the confidence to earn incomes of their own, giving them independence and power at home. 80% of our SHG members are farmers.
- Through our Agriculture Program, we provide access to resources and training for farmers to increase productivity and diversity with second crops – fruit, flowers, and vegetables – they use at home and sell at market, which helps families earn additional income to purchase protein-rich foods to supplement their diets.
Milk Project and Nutrition Program
From 1984 to 2019, PRASAD’s long-standing Milk Project and Nutrition Program delivered milk, nutritional supplements and snacks to children up to 6 years of age at daycare centers spread throughout the Tansa Valley. In recent years, PRASAD was providing more than 14,000 servings per month. This program has been instrumental in reducing the malnutrition rate in children from 43% in 2015 to 17% by the end of 2018.
In August 2019, the Ministry of Women and Child Development required all non-governmental organizations to stop distributing food at daycare centers. Consequently, PRASAD Chikitsa has paused its Nutrition Program. We hope this will be resolved in the near future.