During village checkups the medical doctor screens for TB suspected and emergency patients. Also we are looking for pregnant women, newborns, malnourished, anemic or neurological children, as well as for heart patients with subsequent referral to the health care center for admission. A follow-up program to monitor proper TB medication in the patient is a stable part of the health care center.
Shining Eyes strives to foster the implementation of dietary diversification in the families with several activities (awareness, agricultural incentives, food distribution). Mothers learn how to prepare healthy food for their family using all food groups over the day and are taught why nutrients like vitamins, proteins and minerals are needed for their children to grow, stay healthy and learn properly at school later in life.
In order to cover the micronutrient needs of the children, we produce a leaf powder mixture of Moringa and Amaranthus, which is rich in iron, protein and vitamins. This powder is added in special nutrition programs to the food or used for baking Moringa cookies, that are distributed to malnourished children in the villages.
In interactive cooking trainings mothers learn how to prepare appropriate infant and young child foods (with recipe suggestions), how to diversify family meals and to recognize hunger in their children.
As malnutrition is the main hindrance to a healthy development of Santal children, we introduced village based nutrition programs. Here the focus is on pregnant and lactating women and children aged younger than 3 years. Nutritious meals from locally available ingredients are provided and enriched with leaf powder from Moringa oleifera tree and Amaranthus tricolor.
The on-the-spot community feeding programs now are more and more replaced by the distribution of our supplementary food "NutriMix" on household level: roasted wheat-lentil milk instant mix with sugar, oil and enriched with vegetables and fruits from the kitchen garden for children younger than two years, and older ones who are severely malnourished.
A long-term preventive iron therapy for all children aged younger than 2 years and older ones who suffer from moderate/severe anemia (Hb<10g/dl) helps to lower the rates of anemia in the children and fosters proper development.
During the pandemic we also distributed food packets (rice, soy & lentils, different colored vegetables, eggs), soap and masks.
Awareness generation is a major point in all project pillars. Villagers are trained in health related topics, hygiene, nutrition, and kitchen gardening or crop diversification. Interactive learning with participatory action is the approach, which is most effective to spread awareness and imply sustainable behavioral changes. With illustrative drawings in Santal culture we explain about diarrhea or how TB spreads out. We sit together with the mothers and listen to their experiences. Together we can think how to stabilize the health of their children and how to react if a child suffers from watery stool or a pregnant woman is too weak to continue the work at home.
Families are supported to start cultivating a kitchen garden with a variety of vegetables. Shining Eyes is encouraging every family to keep their own Moringa tree and cultivate Amaranthus in the garden. Moreover crop-diversification is trained and families are motivated to grow except rice also lentils, mustard or sesame.
Many sicknesses are transmitted during open defecation and especially women suffer from various health problems due to taking bath in the pond. Further healthy nutrition is indispensably linked to proper hygienic practices. Hence, we started to install tube wells and to assist the villagers in building up their own community washing house with toilet. Hygiene habits change and mothers are trained for instance to keep the finger nails of their children short, clean the hands with soap before eating and to drink sufficient clean water.
With all our initiatives we want to protect the lives of the malnourished children in the villages surrounding Bolpur - so they can develop their talents, take care of their families and be part of the society.