HEALTH AND NUTRITION
In different parts of India, we work relentlessly to ensure that children grow up healthy and enjoy a happy childhood.
Even today, 11.2 lakh children in India die before their fifth birthday. Every 25 seconds, a child under five years of age dies mostly due to preventable causes such as infections and malnutrition.
It’s this utterly sad situation which firms our resolve to provide robust health and nutrition benefits to children and save lives. Almost 50% of our work for children caters to the Health & Nutrition needs of children. In different states of India, we’re passionately working to improve the health and nutrition status of newborns, mothers, and expecting women with special focus on those coming from the most disadvantaged communities.
Following are the areas we work in:
- Child Survival
- Newborn Health
- Maternal Health
- Health and Nutrition of Children Affected by Emergencies and Natural Disaster
- WASH – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Healthcare Which Saves Lives
We go by the mantra that No Child is Born to Die. That is why we have projects in several states of India which are aimed at increasing the chances of survival of children between the ages of 0-5 years, reducing levels of malnutrition among them and improving newborn and maternal health. For example, through Project Karuna, we have been helping malnourished children in rural Varanasi leave behind a life of malnutrition and become healthy. In the urban slums of Delhi, we run Mobile Health Units which take healthcare to the doorsteps of the urban poor.
Through ‘Stop Diarrhoea Initiative’, we are tackling diarrhoea (the second biggest killer of children under 5) and related issues among the most vulnerable children in the urban slums of Delhi and rural areas of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
In 2018, 4.68 lakh children benefitted through our healthcare programmes.
In all of this, we engage heavily with the local community. We work towards disseminating the message of the importance of maintaing good personal health and hygiene, for themselves and for their children. We collaborate with state- and district-level government authorities, schools and Aanganwadi Centres. The Community Health Workers (CHWs) we train and work with form the backbone of our healthcare initiatives. To improve the hygiene and nutrition behaviour of the communities we work with and to inculcate the habits of healthy living, are among the ultimate aims of all our Health & Nutrition programmes.
Education is a gift for life. We help children reach school and stay there.
We help children unlock their potential and realise their dreams. We believe that every child is extraordinary and can scale great heights if provided with the right learning opportunities. With regular and generous contributions from our supporters, we are able to march steadily towards achieving these goals.
We are committed to ensure that all children, irrespective of their origin, are able to go to school, play, interact and learn with other children of their age. We help children with limited means hone their creativity and skills under the guidance of trained teachers and make persistent efforts to enable them to secure a life of dignity for themselves, their families and the community at large.
In nine states of India, Save the Children runs programmes to support the education of the most disadvantaged children of India in different ways.
How do we do it?
We counsel parents coming from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the society on the significance of sending their children to school and assist them through the admission process. In schools, we make learning fun. We train teachers to impart learning using child-friendly and interactive teaching-learning methods. We set libraries and infrastructure right, conduct Computer Science and English classes, promote and facilitate extra-curricular activities and sports. The idea is to provide holistic learning to children.
We work with the local communities to form Children Groups (CGs) and School Management Committees (SMCs) and work with them to ensure that they take accountability of the development of the children in their community and that even the most marginalised children in their area are sent to school and they stay there.
We map out-of-school children and ensure their enrolment into formal schools in age-appropriate classes.
In classrooms, we encourage and help children to undertake learning activities in groups. This makes the entire experience much more fun and promotes healthy competition.
In metro cities, we operate our own learning centres where children coming from the socially-excluded communities are provided learning and/or after-school support. For example, in Kolkata and Mumbai, we run Mobile Learning Centres which reach the doorsteps of the children who need us most.
During emergencies, we set up Temporary Learning Centres and distribute education kits so that that the affected children do not drift away from the path of education.
The wonderful effects of education span generations. With your support, we can give children a better tomorrow by giving them an opportunity to go to school.
Keeping children safe and free from harm is what we believe in and what we do.
The Child Protection Programme is a core sector of our work.
Children pushed into child labour, children facing abuse in the community, children trafficked, children affected by a calamity or emergency situation - Save the Children works to protect children from different kinds of harms – abuse, neglect, exploitation, physical danger and violence.Despite the rampant economic growth in the last two decades, lakhs of children in India continue to be exposed to different forms of exploitation – mental and physical. For example, a shocking 82.2 lakh children (aged 5 - 14 years) are still into the abhorrent practice of child labour which is destroying their childhood.
A simple premise that every child deserves a happy and safe childhood is what drives us to run projects in the remotest parts of India to protect children from harm.
How do we do it?
We work with the most disadvantaged local communities, sensitising and educating them about the rights of children to help them understand that children are meant to be at school and not work.
We form Children Groups through which we bring together vulnerable children in a community. These children then collectively work our solutions to help themselves and each other and ensure child rights in their area are upheld.
We work very closely with these Children Groups and train them to identify and prevent cases of child marriage, child trafficking, child abuse and child labour.
We map out-of-school children, street children and those who are involved in child labour and facilitate their movement into schools by the means of enrolment drives.
Another major aspect of our work is to coordinate with the district and state level authorities to ensure right implementation of laws so that children in the area are kept safe
For vulnerable children above 14 years of age, we organise skill-based vocational trainings like beautician courses, security guard training, etc. and prepare them for dignified employment opportunities
In 2013, we rolled out a Missing Children Helpline in Jharkhand and West Bengal where reports of missing children could be logged.
In 2014 we joined forces with IKEA to kickstart a mega project to prevent child labour in the cotton farming areas of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
During emergencies and disasters, we set up Child Friendly Spaces where affected children find a safe and conducive environment to overcome the trauma
Last year (2018), we protected 1.69 lakh children from different forms of harm.
While we take being safe for granted, there are many, many children in India who need protection. You can keep children from harm and provide them a happy childhood.
We utilise a child rights programming framework and keep in mind the cross-cutting themes of child participation, non-discrimination and best interests of children. Our child protection work focuses on three key “evidence” groups:
- Children affected by disasters/emergencies and conflict, including Child Centered Disaster Risk Reduction.
- Children on move- child trafficking, street children, migrants children
- Children involved in harmful work and
- Children with inadequate parental care including alternatives to institutional care.
Understanding good and productive practices in care and protection is a major focus of our programme work. This requires quality programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation (research & studies) and learning from the evidence and advocate to be scaled up. Some of the most important activities of our Child
Protection programme include:
- Improving the understanding of the situation of vulnerable children in need of care and protection.
- Building children's resilience and supporting their participation in their own protection, including child-led organisations and child-to-child support.
- Promoting diversion from inappropriate or punitive responses and encouraging the reintegration of children who have been stigmatised because of their coping strategies in the absence of effective protection mechanisms.
- Demonstrating the benefits of preventative approaches and early intervention over interventions at a later stage.
- Supporting the development of community-based care and protection systems.
- Support to the co-ordination and integration of services and support to vulnerable children.
- Building the care and protection of children into broader social welfare, poverty reduction and other national development strategies.
- Building the capacity of duty bearers to deliver effective care and protection for children.
- Advocating for legal and policy reform in line with the principles and standards of the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child.
Emergency response has always been at the heart of Save the Children’s mission.
Save the Children is committed to reducing children’s vulnerability to emergencies, ensuring their right to survival and development after an emergency and providing the support they and their families need to quickly recover and re-establish their lives, dignity and livelihoods. The Every One campaign, launched in October 2009, reaffirms the central importance of emergency response in our fight to reduce child mortality.
Our goal is to mount emergency responses that are timely, at appropriate scale and scope, providing high quality programming, efficiently, effectively, safely and securely for the most vulnerable children and their families. Our aim is to increase preparedness of children and their families for emergency situations in the aftermath of natural disasters through child-centred and community-based approaches. We also aim to manage disasters better, minimise the impact of natural disasters to communities in disaster prone areas and build child-centred resilient communities.
Save the Children has put in place an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPP) to guide all Save the Children employees and implementing partners while preparing for and responding to emergencies.
DISASTER SCENARIO IN INDIA:
India is the most populous democracy in the world, consisting of 28 states and 7 union territories. It has a quasi-federal structure in which the centre and states share financial and decision-making powers, with the centre having overall prominence. Certain areas of India remain highly politically sensitive, including Kashmir, the North-Eastern States, areas of Maoist activity in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh and the refugee camps in Tamil Nadu.
In the event of a large-scale disaster, it is unlikely that the Indian government will call for international assistance. However, the Central and State governments are generally receptive to assistance from international donors, NGOs and the UN in disaster preparedness and response.
We respond immediately to families affected by natural disasters with food aid, water and essential items and also work towards rehabilitation of affected families. We work to ensure that children and their families are better prepared to cope with emergencies and that preparedness programmes at community level are child-centred and community based.
In 2018, we provided humanitarian relief to more than 87,954 children. We focused on building the leadership among children and enabling their participation in Panchayat-level decision making.
Emergency Response and Child-centric Disaster Risk Reduction
- Education: We ensure that children are able to continue with their schooling by providing them with a safe space to learn in the aftermath of disasters.
- Child Protection : We distribute relief supplies during emergencies and assist with long term rehabilitation efforts. We operate child friendly spaces supporting children’s psychological needs as well as carrying out nutritional and healthcare assessments. And we protect children from being trafficked for commercial sex work and child labour.