#EAT LOCAL EAT HEALTHY – PROMOTING THE USE OF UNDERUTILIZED NATIVE CROPS!!

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Agriculture forms an integral part of Indian history, from the days of the Indus Valley civilization to even modern day era, and forms an integral part of Indian lifestyle and culture. Even today, agriculture holds a major role in the Indian economy, contributing 17-18% of the nation’s GDP and in a recent Economic Survey 2017-18 released in the parliament last year, and agriculture employs more than 50% of the total workforce. However today, traditional knowledge about India’s indigenous plants have reduced in the younger generation, mainly due to the influence of urbanization. India is rich in diverse plant species, ranging from food, materials to even medicinal properties. Not only do India’s indigenous plants have economic values, but also have major health benefits equal to those of avocados and other foreign crops.

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Tasteful examples include star fruit, rich in antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C, okra, a vegetable with a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and the seeds provide quality oil and protein. Phalsa is another fruit similar to blueberries and extremely rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin C. It is a super fruit with an effective cooling effect that is perfect for summers. Others also include lemongrass, turmeric, and many other herbs, used to add a little bit of flavor and have medicinal properties.

Today’s integration of connectivity has changed even the food we eat, as now many of the younger generations opt for international ‘superfoods’, often forgetting the value of the crops we grow on our own soil. Foods that we have been cultivating, researching and eating for generations have now lost importance, and it’s important that we bring them back.

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Many people are uncomfortable with market-bought fruits and vegetables, and rightfully so, because it may not be as fresh or reliable as advertised. Therefore we encourage growing locally grown produce right at the comfort of your own home. Options such as terrace farming, kitchen gardening are always ideal, and even if you lack space a smaller balcony farm works just as well.

We at SHARP NGO encourage the use of locally available crops and spread awareness about them under our NUTRITION PROJECTS through awareness campaigns, talk shows, promoting kitchen gardening, educational games in communities &villages to promote dietary diversification of indigenous crops to lead healthy lifestyle, encouraging people from all age group like children, pregnant ladies, adolescents to consume them for a healthy mind & healthy life.

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NASHTA ZAROORI HAI!

“Jaldi khao! Bus aa gayi he!”

These are the words of a typical Indian mother rushing her child in the morning. Little does she know that her child is rushing through the most important meal of the day; sometimes even missing it to catch the bus to school. As children, parents, employees and employers, we often wake up running late in the morning and substitute breakfast with just fruits, carbohydrate and fat filled foodstuff such as cereal, or “rotis” and a dry vegetable sabzi. In rural regions such as the 6,50,000 villages in India, it’s even worse with “chai” and a few biscuits being the staple. This habit is harmful. We neglect the needs of our bodies by doing this repetitively, day after day.

After a long-night’s rest and repair, our bodies’ need the replenishment which breakfast provides. A wholesome breakfast would include carbohydrates along with essential vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibres. Not only does it give you energy, but it helps our minds to power up again and it helps prevent some of the most common diseases in India such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease. The far reach of these diseases pan-India highlight not only the lack of a balanced breakfast in our country but of a general healthy diet as a whole. We see malnutrition, gout, kwashiorkor, obesity, scurvy and so much more. All the result of a poor diet.

No one should have to do this to themselves and face the consequences because they didn’t know what a proper diet was. This is why we at SHARP want everyone to know. We are organizing nutrition awareness programs across India and educating them about the importance of nutrition in our everyday live. We want to promote and support people to embody a healthier, more nutritious lifestyle, so come join us to make it all a reality!

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Nurturing through support & trust

case study

 

Daulati Kumari is a thirteen year, non-school going regular young girl coming from an economically underprivileged background from village Jalapur, Tekari.  Education is not considered important, particularly for girls in many parts of the country. The idea stems from the orthodox practice of restricting women to the house.

Because of lack of education, many girls in rural areas fail to understand the importance of nutrition and good health as they are not well-versed with these concepts at the right time. Daulati visitedAnganwadi centres regularly but her approach towards nutrition and hygiene was very different. She never use to wash her hands before/after meal consumption, didn’t know she was anaemic or underweight, never wore slippers or had breakfast in the morning (except tea and biscuit for the morning). Her lack of knowledge kept her away from reaching out to anybody for guidance, struggling in her own ways not knowing these issues were so important.

After SHARP team visited Jalapur village under project ANSH, she started to realize the importance of nutrition and hygiene through effective communication and intervention activities that were conducted through platforms like AHD (Adolescent health days), personal counselling&home visits etc. She even learnt the importance of healthy breakfast, dietary diversification, proper steps to hand-wash, gained knowledge on anaemia prevention practices and maintaining personal hygiene by the means of various interventions. During the home visit, her parents initially were unsupportive but after continuous efforts, they realized how important it is to understand the nutritional status of their adolescent girl as she was going through various physical, mental and emotional changes in her body. Her BMI and Hemoglobin reports were also shared and explained to her parents so that they are well versed with her progress.

Daulti now is very conscious about her health and hygiene. She wears her slippers daily, wash her hands with soap whenever necessary, use the toilet and is always curious to know more about her nutritional status from the team members. She has even convinced her parents to set up a small kitchen garden outside their home.

She is now confident to deal with her challenges and also tries to sensitize her peers, neighbours and other family members and thanks the intervention for this change in her attitude.

ARE WE DOING ENOUGH FOR OUR EYES?

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We all are aware of how sensitive our eyes are, but are we taking enough care? Imagine your life without your eyes. It’s scary, isn’t it? Our eyes are such an important part of our human body, and they help us to explore beautiful things around us, and yet, we sometimes, take our eye care for granted.
According to a recent survey, India is home to 40% of the world’s blind population; one-third of our population needs glasses but doesn’t have access to them and on a global level about 285 million people are visually impaired. Not taking proper eye care is one of the root causes of blindness in our country. In India, there are only about 12,000 ophthalmologists for a 1 billion-plus population, resulting in a ratio of one ophthalmologist for every 90,000 people.

Our government and many NGOs are actively participating in raising awareness about eye-care in India, but still, a lot needs to be done when it comes to awareness. For example, how many of us are aware that 10th October is World Sight Day? It is a global event that was created in 2000 to draw attention to blindness and visual impairment. This theme highlights the importance of making sure that everyone everywhere has access to good eye health. It has been integrated into Vision 2020, which was launched by the WHO together with more than 20 international NGOs that aim to provide support and advocacy to prevent blindness worldwide by the year 2020. And we personally feel World Sight Day is a brilliant move to engage with the audience and encouraging people to get their eyes checked at regular intervals.

 

ONLINE GAMING ADDICTION, A MATTER OF GRAVE CONCERN?

Background of the problem– Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences (American Psychiatric Association). Gaming addiction is becoming a major public health issue, preceding over other interests and daily activities which affects other lifestyle disorders. Worldwide there are 90% of children who play video games with an average age of a gamer being 30 years (ted talk on “your brain on game” by Daphne Bavelier)

According to WHO Gaming disorder, with its online and offline variants, it has been included in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a clinically recognizable and clinically significant syndrome, when the pattern of gaming behavior is of such a nature and intensity that it results in marked distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational or occupational functioning.

Problem statement-   Online gaming addiction, a matter of grave concern?

Our objective is to address the issue and spread awareness about the same before it reaches the point of addiction among the adolescent group. This form of addiction causes severe distress if one doesn’t get to play, they often leading to aggressive and destructive behavior further contributing to various mental health problems.

Academic retention is getting compromised because of addiction to online video games. Teenage is a phase where a child is sensitive, for instance in a recent incident that happened in Mumbai where a 16 year old committed suicide after his father scolded him for playing an online game named- “PUBG”. Online gaming has given an introvert personality, a type of platform to interact with people whom they meet in the virtual world, this becomes their comfortable space in leading to getting disconnected from the real world which can further trigger mental health issues like anxiety, discomfort in socializing with people face to face, mild to moderate symptoms of depression. Cases like these are coming out frequently, which indicates an urgency to control and address this matter.

The Role of Media as a trigger to Online Gaming Addiction

Advertisement and various forms of media is a big mind changer and has a huge impact in promoting such addictions- be it playing games like PubG  or for that matter a want to become a public celebrity on Tik-tok.  It always has a large mass coverage!!

4 out of every 5 parent want their children to spend maximum time in academics, outdoor activities or pursuing their hobbies instead of playing video games as the most common complaint heard from parents relates to concerns that the game is ‘addictive’.  There are compulsive loops built into the game, making it more enticing to keep playing (for example, you can unlock more features and purchase additional items in the shop, the longer you play).

In this respect the parents are partially correct to think so. However, to one’s surprise, various studies suggests that online gaming can increase your child’s creativity as well as better capability of decision making. Well this is true, however, everything has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages.

A neuroscience study published in the Nature, shows that playing video games increase visual ability at the edge of the computer screen. Other studies reveal that video games can help an adult differentiate between different shades of gray (known as contrast sensitivity) which is required for activities like driving at night. Besides of these said benefits, gaming is still considered to be harmful, why? As the famous saying goes, anything used in excess has harmful effects. An immediate consequence of spending many hours on gaming cause detachment from the real world.

Addressing the ISSUE

BANNING is not the SOLUTION to the problem. Truth is the revenues generated by these game-making companies is higher than the global revenue for music and consumer book sales. Fortnight is one such online game that made $3 billion profit in 2018. Therefore, it is a need to look into more reliable and sustainable solution.

Some solutions:

  1. Incorporation of games that test mental rotation like mind puzzles
  2. More attention from the PARENTS. Parents should encourage them to adapt other co-curricular activities like dance, swimming, boxing etc., which will keep them engaged in some productive work
  3. Restrict play timings to only 2 hours in a day
  4. Counselling and talking to them helping them tackle peer pressure and engaging them more to socialize.
  5. More play dates or picnics with your children can be helpful.

Is your child is on urge of getting addiction of online gaming?  “I would like to leave you with that thought”, kindly let us know what’s your take to overcome these challenges is?

We will keep you posted with SOLUTIONS!

 

“When I give up on hunger, vegetable germinates and life continues”

About one-third of the world’s population suffer from one or more deficiency of micro-nutrient. In India food insecurity is a major problem with nearly 195 million undernourished people sharing a quarter of global hunger burden despite the achievement of national food self-sufficiency. Nearly 47 million people i.e. 4 out of 10 children in India are not meeting their full human potential because of chronic under nutrition or stunting. Due to this malnutrition problem, children suffer throughout their lifespan with less capacity of learning in their productive age in comparison to a normal people who have adequate nutrition throughout their nurture. Besides the fact that India is the third largest food exporting country, hunger and malnutrition still survives!

Food security and nutrition are basic human rights and fundamental to a healthy and productive life, therefore it’s important to look for an answer to these issues. Will “KITCHEN GARDEN” help in reducing all these problems?

Kitchen Garden- Bringing Nutrition & Livelihood Support

Kitchen gardens is a community adaptive strategy that can be established and maintained on a small patch of land with minimum technical inputs; hence, these gardens provide the rural resource poor communities with a platform for innovations in supplemental food production as well as an opportunity to improve their sustainable livelihoods.

Family labour, especially efforts of women, becomes particularly important in the management of these gardens. Empowered with reasonably minimum amount of skills and knowledge, these women members of rural families can easily fight crop losses and other negative implications, thereby making kitchen gardening a profitable initiative. Besides, the major use of organic farming practices makes these gardens environment friendly as well.

Kitchen gardens are cost-effective, practical and easily meet the balanced dietary requirements of rural households as well as add substantially to the family income. Crops are selected considering the prevailing food habits and climatic conditions of the implementation areas, and with the larger goal of ensuring availability of wholesome and nutritious food.

Therefore, to promote supplemental food production among the underprivileged and poor people in the rural areas, reaching to about 1.5 lakh primary school children through 1511 primary schools, NGO SHARP under GSK MISSION HEALTH (2017-2018) project promoted the small kitchen garden model in schools and communities with an aim to improve nutrition security and supplement household income. The primary rationale behind this model is to help improve the nutrition status of small and marginal farmers and their families, providing them with an assorted mix of vegetables for a considerable stretch of the year.

 Benefits

Economic Benefits: Kitchen gardens will help increase household income either by sale of the food products grown in the gardens or by the consumption of the same food items that the families would have otherwise purchased from markets using a significant portion of the family income. Apart from income generation and household economic welfare, this initiative promotes entrepreneurship, especially among women.

Social Benefits: Kitchen gardens will directly contribute to household food security by increasing availability, accessibility, and utilization of food products. Food items produced in kitchen gardens add to the family nutrition substantially, which directly leads to reduction of food insecurity. This initiative points out to reduce hidden hunger and also curbs the possibilities of suffering from diseases caused by micro-nutrient deficiency by ensuring a small but continuous flow of subsistence food products in the daily household diet.

Environmental Gains: Use of organic methods of cropping including organic manure will lessen the dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides automatically making kitchen gardening an environment friendly initiative. In addition to this, kitchen gardens provide environmentally sound opportunities for waste disposal. Composting is commonly used for household wastes including kitchen waste, paper, and even animal waste, which are used to enrich the soil. Kitchen gardens serve as an eco-friendly and sustainable agricultural practice to improve food security and enhance economic growth of rural households.

With our past expertise & experience in promoting and facilitating the development of kitchen gardens we would integrate these efforts at school and community level in our Projects like ANSH & PUSHTI implemented by NGO SHARP & JSI R& T foundation under GSK Mission Health. These projects invests majorly in improving the nutrition and health status of the mothers, children under 5 and adolescents as prime benefactors whereas others like family members (especially mothers) community workers, teachers etc. as secondary benefactors.

The geography of the project is selected based on their poor performance in key indicators as identified by Niti Aayog and are designated as Aspirational districts. Therefore, there is a need to ensure key nutrition sensitive interventions to increase awareness and promote dietary diversity for enhanced food choices as a sustainable investing in improving the overall health and nutrition of the community.

We will keep sharing our experiences and updates on such sustainable nutrition sensitive initiatives!

To know more about Project Mission Health Visit our you-tube link :https://youtu.be/vn4EJNxieYw

Written by: Juhi Arora

Team SHARP NGO

Increase in Vision: Brings a Ray of Hope

“Our Eyes are made up of over 200 million working parts. Each Eye contain 107 million cells and all are light sensitive”

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Proper vision and healthy eyes are necessary for proper and timely growth; visual problems can lead to developmental and cognitive delays.

The number of blinds in India is estimated to be 12 million, out of which 9.2 million are children. The worst part is about 75% are such cases can be avoidable either they can be treated or prevented. The prime reason is the extreme shortage of Optometrists and lack of awareness on the protection of our eyes.

SHARP is working extensively from the last two decades in the field of school health. Our team had worked extensively in the primary and secondary sector and now entering into the tertiary sector to make a positive impact in the lives of children. Eye screening had always been an integral part of various projects in SHARP.

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We are running a project EARLY INTERVENTION OF CHILDHOOD DISABILITIES under the CSR initiative of a consulting firm Xceedance. Under this we conducted successfully eye screening of 800 underprivileged children in Gurgaon. The camp was held in government school of rural Gurgaon. A specialized team of doctors comprising two optometrist and technician were involved in the camp.

After the camp Team SHARP provided free spectacles to the children who were diagnosed with partial blindness. 253 students were given free spectacles after the screening.

The objective of this project is to make a change or to see positive impact in the lives of children to initiate, augment and intensify action against the causes of disabilities for which there is an existing potential for prevention and control. Awareness session was conducted where children were made aware about taking care of eyes for better eye health. These were major tips and points which were discussed-

  • Eat Healthy- Vitamin C & E might help improving vision related problem.
  • Quit Smoking- It increases the possibilities of cataracts and also damages optic nerves.
  • Give eye break from the computer screen
  • Regular visit to an eye doctor (within 3 to 6 months)

 

Team

SHARP NGO