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Nutrition Programs

Yuva Pragati USA / Nutrition Programs

Starting academic year 2018 – 2019, Yuva Pragati initiated a pilot nutrition program for 479 children ages 6 years to 11 years in three primary schools of villages outside the city of Rajkot. We decided to purchase a nutritional and tasty breakfast package from a local NGO in Mumbai which contained a daily requirement of protein prescribed by Indian Association of Pediatricians.

This program adds a new dimension to our goal of educating village children and helping them achieve their full potential for independence. Approximately 300 million children in India live in villages. Most of them are malnourished which negatively impacts their cognitive ability resulting in poor academic performance. Besides, approximately 500,000 children in India die every year from malnutrition. Yuva Pragati is aware of this epidemic from observations during our annual Youth Wellness Camps. Since 2007, we have made some ad-hoc attempts to address this issue in some Ashramshala schools by changing their diet within the constraints of food supply in each school. This attempt has been hard to supervise but did have some sporadic successes.

Beginning June 2018, we concentrated our pilot program in three primary schools for 200 school days per year. This also included monitoring the results by establishing baseline parameters (measuring weight, height, and cognitive factors for a sample) for tracking and training students as well as administration. Baseline data for the schools in the pilot was compiled. Based on the positive changes observed during this pilot program, we expanded the program to include six primary schools involving 1000 students during the academic year 2019 -2020.