With 75 Vedanta Khushi child care centres across India, Vedanta’s company in Rajasthan, Hindustan Zinc and Vedanta foundation adopts 3055 Anganwadis to provide nutrition-health-education to underprivileged children
You visit any of the 75 across India spread Vedanta “Khushi” centres and you will find many stories surrounding the deprived children, who are given daily three meals, uniform, drinking water, books, utensils, toys and colourful posters to enjoy the education through play-way method.
Where Radha takes-out groundnuts from her ‘breakfast poha’, to eat it later, Billu likes playing with the ‘puppets’. Some children play with blocks and some like swings. Every morning their day starts with the prayer and follows with joyful classes. Ask them to sit for breakfast or for lunch without washing hands, and they would refuse. Hygiene has been imbedded in their course-curriculum.
Care for the underprivileged children is very close to the heart of Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Vedanta Group. “No child in India should remain malnourished and be deprived of nutrition, health and primary education” is what he has envisaged. “Make India a child-malnourished free nation” is what he wants to see. In this process Vedanta initiated adoption of government run Anganwadis in the year 2008. The intervention was for a limited period, benefiting children in age-group of 0-6 years.
A country that has the highest number of malnourished children in the world and also accounts for largest child deaths, the private sector intervention, under public-private-partnership model, becomes significant.
Recently, Vedanta Foundation, Hindustan Zinc and Government of Rajasthan signed a 5 years MoU for the adoption of 3055 Anganwadis in Rajasthan. Rajasthan Government has a strong focus on child care and under this MoU, Vedanta Foundation and Hindustan Zinc would also develop 1000 Anganwadis into model Anganwadis. Besides regular facilities to all the 3055 Anganwadis, like books, toys, drinking water, mats, utensils, etc., the 1000 Anganwadis will see strengthening of infrastructure, child-friendly toilets, colourful walls, smokeless chulah to name a few.
200 Anganwadis will see facelift every year so as to complete the project in 5 years. The company has deputed coordinators, supervisors and senior-supervisors to ensure smooth functioning of the Vedanta “Khushi” centres and adopted Anganwadis.
As per the guidelines of World Health Organization, all the selected 3055 Anganwadis will have digital weighing scale to keep record of growth of children. Special emphasis has been given to health & hygiene and monitoring of weight of these children.
Pavan Kaushik, Head of Corporate Communication (Hindustan Zinc), said - “taking care of the underprovided children, their nutrition, health and primary education, is an agenda Company has been following for almost 7 years. We are also grateful to Government of Rajasthan for signing a MoU in this regard under the PPP Model. This joint effort is expected to benefit about 90,000 children every year. Besides providing the necessary colourful books, toys and other material in Anganwadis, our focus is also to provide requisite orientation and training to the Anganwadi workers in the adopted Anganwadis.”
On one hand when Vedanta has gone yet again for the adoption of Anganwadis, its campaign “Khushi” has been tirelessly spreading the message of child-care. The message on social media has large followers and runs a blog that has 1.5 million page views. Several debates on child-care issues have been undertaken by “Khushi” that had given some logical conclusion. It was in a debate in Vedanta “Khushi” that had brought focus on adoption of government schools to improve infrastructure so that more and more rural children are inclined to go to school. As a result, Hindustan Zinc adopted 150 schools to improve their infrastructure and has also signed a MoU with Rajasthan Government to construct toilets in over 600 schools in Rajasthan.