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Kids spread the word on health

Children at the nutrition camp organised by the students of Lakshmipat Singhania Academy

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called malnutrition “a national shame”. Despite boasting the world’s largest food and nutrition programme, India has the highest number of underweight children.

It is to address this grave problem that the Horlicks Aahar Abhiyan has been launched by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, in association with the Child in Need Institute, The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika.

Being a Horlicks WizKid of 2011, I was asked to undertake a project to make children from the slums and their parents aware about nutrition and public health.

Along with a 10-member from my school, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, I thought of organising a nutrition camp with the motto of “Reviving the Akshayapatra (inexhaustible vessel)”.

Our work began on April 4. We visited several slums and met the local councillors.

We picked four slums at Jodhpur Park, Gobindapur colony, Prince Anwar Shah Road, New Alipore Block P and Park Circus to launch our movement and were delighted to find ready support.

We contacted Shanta Dutta Dey, a professor at Vihari Lal College and a nutritionist, and shared our plan with her. She referred us to her student Soma, who is doing her PhD.

Soma was very helpful and cooperative. She pointed out the loopholes in our plan and with her guidance, we made some necessary changes.

The first camp was organised at Gobindapur on May 2. Camps were also held at New Alipore and Park Circus on May 5 and May 8.

The camps were attended by nutritionists who spoke to the slum dwellers about what food items must be included in a regular diet.

To illustrate their point, they used a model of the Indian flag where orange stood for fruits and vegetables orange and yellow in colour, white represented food items that are white in colour such as rice and egg and green depicted vegetables such as spinach, cabbage and gooseberry. The chakra in the middle represented oil, which is essential for the human body.

The stand to which the flag was attached portrayed water. “Just as the flag can’t stand without this mast, our bodies too will perish without water,” said Tanusri, a nutritionist.

The session was followed by a quiz, where children and parents were asked questions based on the nutritionists’ advice and some basic hygienic habits such as clipping nails or taking a proper bath. The children were extremely enthusiastic in their response, especially because the right answers won them gifts.

A few short films on nutrition were also screened followed by a video clipping to make kids aware of their hidden potential. Before leaving, the kids were given chocolates.

It would not have been possible for us to organise the camp without the help and cooperation of our school, our teachers, especially principal Meena Kak, vice-principal Krishna Nandy and project coordinator Santoshree Bhattacharya. Our parents also supported us and encouraged us.

Local clubs of Dasnagar in Gobindapur, New Alipore and Park Circus too helped us a lot. We hope our little effort will bring change in the lives of those who attended the camp and together we would be able to eradicate malnutrition from India and make the country a better place to live in.

Somabha Bandopadhay
Student, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy

 

CHIT CHAT

Silence speaks

Young mime artistes brought to life (picture by Rashbehari Das below) an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel, Fantastic Mr Fox, at the annual children’s production of The Creative Arts Studio. The story of the enterprising and friendly fox who must protect himself and his family from three farmers with sinister motives was beautifully told. The senior-most batch of children from the studio put up a show, “In Lifescapes — a Mime Montage”, that explored scenes from their daily life thought the art of mime. Koel’s song, a story adapted from a Scholastic Early Science reader, aimed at introducing birds and their different songs to children through music, movement and crisp dialogues as part of a musical and theatrical experience. A book compiling creative writing by the children was also released on the occasion.

 

Right stroke

Julien Day School organised its 12th annual Inter-Branch Art and Craft Exhibition from April 18 to 24 at the Academy of Fine Arts. Artist Dhiraj Choudhury inaugurated the exhibition. Students of Classes I to XII from the four branches of Julien Day School in Calcutta, Ganganagar, Kalyani and Howrah participated in the exhibition. Around 198 artworks and 80 craft works were on display. “All the exhibits were made by the students in class. The best of the lot were selected for display,” said Shukla Sen Poddar, art teacher at Julien Day School, Kalyani.

Choudhury, who judged the event, said: “When I was a student, I never dreamt of becoming a painter. Even today, I am struggling for professional identity. His advice for the budding artists — “The most important thing is to become a good human being, until and unless you are a good human being, you cannot express what you feel.”

A painting titled “The Rescue” by Class X student Debayan Chatterjee won the first prize. “I tried to portray the rescue operation after a train accident. Such incidents happen often and are always in the papers,” said Debayan.

Shweta Keshri