As part of our CSR program Nexus is supporting Bal Jeevan Trust a charity organization in Mumbai, India whose mission is to better the lives of Mumbai’s rag picking children, the not-for-profit Bal Jeevan Trust works relentlessly to improve their nutrition, education, health, and general self-worth.
The following is an excerpt from the Bal Jeevan Trust website: ‘The fundamental objectives of Bal Jeevan Trust are in the areas of education, healthcare, nutrition, and the building of self-worth.
Although our original goal was simply to provide a basic level of education for our children, their success over the years has led us to raise our bar; we now expect high scores in the Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examination. We advocate regular school attendance, and supplement our children’s schooling through structured study programs. After school, we encourage them to move onto further education, vocational training, and hopefully gainful employment. We also try and convey the importance of education to both children and parents alike.
We stress the importance of long lasting health to our children and their families. We provide them with regular medical check-ups, and follow up with them on any advice or prescriptions that they have been given. We also run annual health drives which focus on the prevention of vitamin deficiencies.
Most of the families that our children come from face severe financial constraints, making malnourishment commonplace. Hence, one of our fundamental goals is to provide food to our children. We provide them with two nutritious meals each day, details of which can be found in the Nutrition section of this website.
We often find that the children who join our program have very low self-esteem. Instilling self-confidence and self-worth forms an integral part of our work. We do this through a variety of programs and activities.
Our Trust is a dogged promoter of gender equality and fairness. We instill these values into the minds of our children by making sure that both girls and boys share responsibilities, complete activities and play sport together. For example, girls and boys play football together twice a week as part of a program sponsored by an NGO called ‘Magic Bus’.
Over the years we have been able to teach the children and their families the value of education, and how this, combined with ‘self-belief’, can result in unimaginable achievements and opportunities. Our motto is ‘I know I can’.’
As part of our CSR program we are pleased to announce that we will be supporting Mahan Trust in India. Here is some information on this NGO and the incredible work that they carry out in the remote area of Melghat.
Melghat, a hilly forest area in the Satpuda mountain ranges is a habitat for tigers, bison, bears, snakes and many more animals. A Total of 320 villages spread over the area of 4000 sq. km are located far away from each other. Many of these villages are with very poor or no infrastructure like connectivity, transportation, communication, electricity, basic amenities. These villages severely lack facilities and access to education and health care. Approximately 75% of the population is tribal. Most of the tribal (>90 %) are farmers or laborers living very hard life. Most of the tribal (>75%) are below poverty line & illiterate (>50%), living in hamlets (>90%).
Melghat on Health Front
There are two pediatricians who serve in this region however; there are no gynecologists, anesthetists or surgeons working in the area. There is absolutely no facility for conducting cesarean section or neonatal care for new born critically ill babies. This is due to lack of proper & functional medical facilities (availability of doctors, staff, medicines, instruments etc.) and the tribals owing to their ignorance have consistently failed to seek medical help, instead prefer the traditional faith healers for treatment. Besides this the area is faced with several other health issues such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea, etc. To add to these, problems due to addiction (tobacco, marijuana) such as carcinoma, alcoholic gastritis and animal bites are very prevalent.
Mahan Trust Background
Dr. Ashish Satav is the president of MAHAN Trust and in 1998 when he and his wife Dr. Kavita arrived in Melghat, the infant mortality rates in the region were startling with more than 100 deaths per 1000 live births which is almost twice the Indian average of 52 deaths per 1000. Today, Dr. Satav and Dr. Kavita through their determination and dedication have managed to reduce mortality rates to around 60 deaths per 1000 and severe malnutrition cases have dropped by over 40%.
Mahan trust are behind some remarkable ongoing projects that they have founded in this region. Among them are:
Home based child care – Due to the home based child care program, the under 5 children mortality and prevalence of severe malnutrition is reduced by 50% over 5 years.
Hospital and critical care unit – MAHAN started medical service in a hut in 1997. Today MAHAN has a well-equipped hospital ‘Mahatma Gandhi Tribal Hospital’.
Kitchen Garden and Nutrition Project – Most of the families own a small piece of land but are unaware of proper methods of cropping with available resources. MAHAN’s team implemented the concept of Kitchen Garden. Waste water from the kitchen is used for this. This was also expected to solve the problem of water logging which leads to breeding of mosquitoes and flies thus reducing the incidence of malaria and diarrhea diseases. It demonstrated that one acre of land is sufficient to provide sufficient nutrition to the children and tackle the problem of malnutrition in long term.
Our donations will be utilized by Mahan Trust specifically for the Blindness Control Program which they will be staying in touch with us and keeping us informed of its progress.