A holistic Nutrition Intervention and Early Learning program for 0- 6 children of construction and quarry workers in and around Bangalore.

Bengaluru, being one of the fastest growing cities in India, attracts thousands of migrant laborers who come from regions plagued with poverty, hunger and malnutrition. Their inhabitation in inhumane conditions with no basic amenities makes their lives even more vulnerable even as they work under very difficult circumstances.

Bleak Reality1 :

It is a well known fact that nutrition is essential for human development and crucial to health and wellbeing. Malnutrition is the underlying cause of at least 50 per cent of deaths of children under five. Even if it does not lead to death, malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies, often leads to permanent damage, including impairment of physical growth and mental development.
The reasons for malnutrition are many including poverty, inadequate food, inaccessibility and lack of knowledge of nutritious food, improper infant and child feeding practices.

Pre-school children are one of the most nutritionally vulnerable segments of the population. Nutrition during the first five years has an impact not only on growth and morbidity during childhood, but also acts as a determinant of nutritional status in adolescent and adult life. Moreover, the crucial period is birth to two years when maximum growth takes place and any deprivation at this stage, both nutritional and care related in development would be difficult to remedy later.

The findings of the third National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) reveals an unacceptable prevalence of malnutrition in our children:
• 42.5% of our children under the age of five years are underweight (low weight for age)
• 48 % of our children are stunted (low height for age – chronically malnourished)
• 19.8 % of our children are wasted (low weight for height – acutely malnourished)
• In poorer states the situation is even worse with over 50 % of children underweight

Rates of child malnutrition in India are among the highest in the world, higher even than sub Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Children’s nutritional status:
• 44% of children under age five are stunted, or too short for their age, which indicates that they have been undernourished for some time.
• 18% of children are wasted, or too thin for their height, which may result from inadequate recent food intake or a recent illness.
• 38% are underweight, which takes into account both chronic and acute under nutrition.
• Children in rural areas are more likely to be undernourished; but even in urban areas, more than one-third of children under age five years suffer from chronic under nutrition.

United Way Bengaluru has decided to address this issue and is working on several fronts with this unorganized labor community. Here are some hard hitting facts;
• Only 30% of children are covered by the Government’s ICDS scheme, and 47% of children suffer from malnutrition in Karnataka.
• More than half of women in Karnataka (52%) have anaemia, including 34 percent with mild anaemia, 15 percent with moderate anaemia, and 2 percent with severe anaemia. 63% of pregnant women are anaemic.
• Only 14% of children end up as normal children when they reach the age of six i.e., with normal height, weight, body mass, mental, physical development.
• Children’s nutritional status in Karnataka has improved slightly since NFHS-2 by some measures but not by all measures. Children under age three years are less likely to be wasted and underweight for their age than they were in NFHS- 2, but they are about equally likely to be too short for their age, or chronically undernourished.

[1] Source: NIPPCED, NSSO Updates MHRD, and a report on Child malnutrition in Karnataka, by Adv. Clifton Rozario Advisor to Commissioners of the Hon’ble Supreme Court


Born learning:
This campaign envisions enhancing the holistic development and early education of vulnerable children, belonging to economically backward communities in and around Bengaluru, aged between 0 and 6 years.

Campaign Goal - Work towards a community with ‘healthy children with normal growth appropriate to their age and with enhanced early learning abilities such as gross motor, fine motor, sensory, cognitive, social, linguistic and personal skills.

Areas of Interventions:
Child - Centric Community Health Awareness focusing anemic pregnant and lactating mothers on early child care (0 – 2 yrs). This stage being a very crucial phase in the life of a child the project aims work in collaboration with the responsible Government Department, the community health workers to sensitize and create access to basic nutritious food, vaccination and medical care.

Nutrition Intervention Program to provide fresh, hot, wholesome nutritious food as per the expert committee recommendation to children between 0-6 yrs. United Way Bengaluru is working closely with the Health and Nutrition Committee members set by Karnataka Government to come up with revised nutritional profile for 0-6 children. The said Committee has come up with and recommendations and set of models that if implemented can bring about qualitative changes in the lives of children. The revised menu consists of locally available cereals, millets, oilseeds that are rich in micronutrients required for children.

Holistic Early Learning Program aimed at enhancing gross motor, fine motor, sensory, cognitive, linguistic, emotional & esthetic, social and personal skills of children. We have evolved an innovative method to augment early childhood education among the children. It includes play way method using child friendly materials and ingeniously developed ‘web lessons’. The education at Born Learning Centres focuses on FIVE major areas of development, namely;


Target community and geographic area:
The Born learning campaign will initially start work with establishing 50 Born Learning Centres (BLCs) in and around Bengaluru by December 2013 and thereafter increase the number. The children coming to these Born Learning Centres belong to quarry and constructions workers, who despite a lot of hard labour still find it difficult to meet their children’s needs.

Expected outcomes:
The project will establish 500 ELCs by  March 2016. High awareness will be brought about at the community level on holistic nutrition, early child care, and early learning opportunities. The Born Learning Centres will ensure holistic health for children with normal growth and mental capacities appropriate to their age and enhanced early learning abilities such as gross motor, fine motor, sensory, cognitive, social, linguistic and personal skills.

To know more about the campaign, contact us on +91-80-40906345

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