“They alone live who live for others. Rest are more dead than alive”- Swami Vivekananda
How true is the saying! Only those who have treaded the same path will understand the true meaning of these words. Since its inception, Vivekananda Kendra Kanyakumari has literally lived this saying. All its projects are designed and oriented towards the upliftment of the underprivileged with the active participation of the community. It is the community which understands the problems they face better than any outsider, so the community must come together to actively participate in the mitigation of the same.
When we started our mobile medical activities, we had the opportunity to serve several remote corners of Arunachal Pradesh and observe at first hand the various factors affecting the health of the general masses. Malnutrition among children is one of them. The major causes which aggravate this problem are less crop production because of high altitude, less or non availability of food supplies due to poor surface connectivity, lack of education, no nearby health care provider and most importantly lack of awareness among the parents.
For a long time we have been thinking of addressing the problem of malnutrition which is a major cause of infant and child mortality and poor health and productivity in later life. But two major requirements to start the programme were assured and continuous flow of funds and finding the right person within the community who can execute it with dedication. To start with we selected four villages of Lazu and Wakka Circles of Tirap and Longding districts. For this purpose we started meeting the people of Pongkong, Longliang, Wakka and Khanu villages and discussed how effectively the programme can be conducted with their active participation. They started selecting the children who needed supplementary food and the volunteers who will monitor and work for this purpose. India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), USA was generous enough to provide fund for the financial year 2018-19 and assured all possible help for its continuation.
Our medical team then visited all these villages and examined the enrolled children. Finally, the programme was started in August 2018. The selected children are regularly provided one staple food along with some protein supplement. All the children assemble in the community hall and our workers provide them the food for the day. After partaking of the food the children play some organized games and they are also taught a few rhymes and numbers by our trained workers. They also take care of the health and hygiene of the children and in case of occurrence of any disease the medical team is immediately informed for necessary action.
On 16/11/2018, our medical team visited Pongkong village and found all the enrolled children i.e. 46 in number were present and the workers were taking care of the children as per the instruction. A marked improvement was seen in the children. Basic health parameters were checked and found to be satisfactory. It was also heartening to see that the children were cleaner and tidier and showed discipline. It was encouraging to see that the entire village is very positive towards the programme and they have also come up to contribute for the programmme from their meager means. To cite an example, a village youth provides the fire woods to cook the food. The educated youths help the workers to keep proper records.
We hope to continue and expand this programme to more such needy areas and solicit participation from everyone.