I have been volunteering with different NGOs in my country and the one thing that I have learned over the years is that a healthy child makes a happy home. We all must have heard a story or two about the love of parents for their children, but seldom do we talk or write about the happiness that children bring to their parents and other grown ups around them.
The most befitting example to prove this “theory” is that the number of volunteers who visit slum areas or shelter homes to teach the children, has always been increasing. Even if we keep aside the numbers, each and every volunteer’s basic reason for showing up was to experience the happiness that only these children could provide. I have felt it myself when I could easily forget all my worries while teaching the children in shelter homes and slums. Their purity of thoughts and innocent acts, win away your heart in no time.
While on one hand they make us happy, if we get attached to them (which we always do), this source of happiness gets replaced by source of worries, when they fall ill. And this is not just true for their parents, but also some volunteers who cannot stop themselves from thinking about the whereabouts of their student who didn’t show up.
This is the main reason that along with education we keep thriving towards the goal of having better health care facilities in slum areas. We had set up a few health camps by inviting doctors who gave sessions on topics like hygiene and healthy habits. It was beautiful to see how different NGOs who have expertise in their own domains, could work together to create an outstanding result. After organizing a few camps, we soon realized that the increase in awareness is not only required for children, but their parents as well. And that is when we started following the “each home”, instead of “each kid” approach. This meant that our efforts were now targeted towards individual families instead of individual kids; which allowed us to club our ideas into a series of actions that further ensured the overall development of a family.
Because these children are our future, we need to make sure that while we try to educate them, they are also kept safe from health problems that often arise due to simple lack of awareness. Educating parents made sure that diseases like malaria can be stopped from spreading by following the rules and guidelines which were set by these people unanimously.
The most promising results in this field were shown by an organization called DIR which has been working to improve the health conditions by helping pregnant women right till the time their children started going to school. From keeping a weekly record of the mother’s and child’s health data like weight and body mass index, they were able to identify the problems and provide timely solutions which were cheap and often included home made remedies. Today if you visit the slum in which they started working a few years ago, you will find a center which now even provides primary education and job opportunities for housewives. They have managed to bring down the infant mortality rate significantly.
All these examples simply state one fact, the best way to keep a family happy is to keep its children healthy. You can not expect these children to learn or show interest in activities when they are sick. You can not expect a father to work with a piece of mind if he knows that he needs to get back home sooner to take care of his sick kid. You can not expect a mother to cook or take care of house chores with excellence if she is broken from inside. You can not expect a volunteer to teach kids and get good results in a slum where 80 percent of children are malnutrition-ed.
P.S.: This post was inspired by Dabur Chyawanprash blogging contest.