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By Arita Sarkar
The Dawoodi Bohra community in the city is lending a helping hand to the children at the slums in Govandi and the tribal areas of Roha through their initiative called Project Rise. In partnership with the Association for Nutrition and Development Action (ANNADA) and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the community is contributing towards the proper nutrition of 600 children in these areas who are either malnourished or are vulnerable to malnourishment.
As part of the initiative, these children have been picked from eight Aangandwadi centres each in Govandi and Roha. Alvin D’Souza, program head for ANNADA explained that for the past two months, these children have been receiving micronutrient fortified energy-dense food in the form of laddus prepared from premixes. ‘Our aim is to improve the nutrition status of the children by giving them the right nutrients. Through the program, we give them food as well as nutrition education to help build their overall health,’ said D’Souza.
He added that all the children are between 2-6 years old and they will be a part of the program for at least a year after which their health will be assessed. ‘There has been some improvement over the past two months. Aanganwadi workers tell us that there has been weight gain by 200-250 grams as a monthly average,’ he said.
Running in its second year, Project Rise is a philanthropic endeavour initiated by the Dawoodi Bohra community that is being implemented wherever the community resides across the world. It deals with a wide spectrum of initiatives and activities in nutrition, healthcare, water and sanitation, environmental responsibility and conservation as well as education. ‘The aim of the program is to not only improve the physical and cognitive growth of young children living in these areas but also working to strengthen various other aspects of their lives along with those of their families through training sessions, counselling and free health camps,” said Ammar Tyebkhan, member of Project Rise.