Thursday, 20 August 2015

STEP to a healthier community..!

Meet Dr. Ayush Gowda, Dr. Sindhu and Dr. Vaishnavi- young medical graduates from JSS Medical College, who have come forward to help Mantra team build a healthier community.
We started with interesting, activity-based sessions on personal hygiene for children in our schools. The excitement was palpable. Students just loved the session and pledged to maintain personal hygiene.
From students, the obvious next step was to address the mothers. We invited women from the community to the school auditorium one afternoon. The topic of presentation was nutrition needs during pregnancy. Kudos to the efforts of the trio..! The presentation was well-designed and was kept simple so that women could understand it.

At the end of the session, many women put forward their queries and doubts. It was amazing to see the level of enthusiasm among the women. "I have a child of 2 years of age. But during my pregnancy, I wasn't even aware of what to eat and what not to. Due to constant vomiting tendency, I used to avoid taking food and even the iron tablets.", recollected Mrs. Zeenat Abdullah. About the session, she further told, "Today I understood why it is important to take fruits, milk etc. I know how my unborn baby will suffer if I compromise on my diet." Mrs. Rabiya Sultana, the 62 year old lady, whom the whole community lovingly calls 'Ajji' told us, "This was very good. You must also conduct session on how to take care of nutrition needs of young children." And we promised her, we would.

PreCIOUS (Preventive Care for Inhabitants of Urban Slums) is one of MANTRA's key programs. Over the coming months, we plan to conduct several such sessions for different target audience, including topics related to teenage health, women health, nutrition, ante-natal care, tobacco consumption, communicable diseases etc. These awareness sessions are aimed at encouraging the parents and children to adopt preventive and promotive healthcare practices as part of their lives.
As the saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure." :)

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Lets put a book in every child's hand.

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” - Jorge Luis Borges

At MANTRA, we have always believed that.
In today's world where information is abundant, it is the joy of reading that can be the best gift for our children. It was almost an year back, when in one of our partner schools, we designed a library. It was an experiment. We chose a classroom, painted its walls with beautiful colors & design and filled the shelves with lots of books. And then what followed was amazing. We never saw children so excited about their library hour before. Even after school hours, children started staying back to spend time in library reading. They had just discovered a new love - that of reading. They had just developed a new friendship - that of books. And for us, this was a Eureka moment.

It was during this time, when we were wondering how to setup libraries for children in all our partner schools that we came across the wonderful 'Library in a classroom' from Pratham Books. To test its effect, we purchased five sets of this 'Library in a classroom' and put them in one of our partner schools. Whoa, we were pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the effect, it produced on children. Sharath, a class 5 student - smiles and reveals his secret, "I love all the story books of my classroom library. Every week, we are allowed to take one book home. So, Vishnu and I exchange our books at home and thus every week we finish two books instead of one." Kulsum shares similar experience. She says, "I used to hate reading my Hindi textbook. But now, I like reading Hindi books. Every alternate week, I ask my teacher to issue one book in Hindi to me. The stories are very interesting and when I read them out to my Ammi, she understands it too."

Looking at these success stories, there was no way we could have missed participating in the 'Donate-a-book' initiative by Pratham Books. We are participating in the ‘Donate-a-book’ campaign by Pratham Books to provide books in 30 classrooms across 6 under-resourced schools. For every rupee you donate to our campaign "Lets Read Together",, Pratham will give books to our students.

Let us put a book in every child's hand. Donate now.