A child’s early years are essential to their healthy physical and mental development. Without proper care in these formative years a child’s chances to fully grow are harmed. Stunted emotional and physical development can often lead to early dropout from education.
Many children in India are not cared for in early life as a result of financial difficulties experienced by parents as well as a lack of proper child care awareness. In order to counter these effects, and give children their best start in life, the project provide caregiver training programmes for parents and grandparents of young children.
Vaibhav is one of the children who has benefited from this programme. Vaibhav is one and a half years old. He is from the village of Pokhari. He lives with his mother and father in a mud house. The total household income in the family is the equivalent of £2.50 per day.
Vaibhav came to the attention of project workers when a health survey of children aged 0 – 3 was conducted in his village. The team found that Vaibhav was underweight and malnourished as he had not been breast fed. Vaibhav’s mother had mental health difficulties and had been unable to care for her child. Vaibhav’s grandmother was taking care of Vaibhav but lacked awareness of good child care practices.
The project team advised that Vaibhav’s mother receive treatment for her mental health difficulties. In the meantime Vaibhav’s grandmother completed the project’s caregiver training. Here she learnt about child nutrition, immunisation, weight monitoring and hygiene and sanitation. As part of the follow up to the training project team members continued to visit the family to monitor Vaibhav’s health.
With proper care Vaibhav’s weight went up and he became more active. He is now of normal weight for his age and doing very well. Vaibhav’s mother received counseling and her situation improved. Without the support of the project Vaibhav would still be underweight and his mother struggling to cope. Now they have a brighter future ahead.