The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) School Board has devised a novel way to address malnourishment among children. It organised a play competition on malnourishment in 450 schools across Ahmedabad where more than 50,000 students from Class I-VIII participated and performed different plays. They had prepared these plays with the help of teachers and parents. While each play was enacted in a different manner,each carried a similar message the gravity of malnourishment and the ways to fight it.
The project took off in each school with the presentation during parents meet,held simultaneously in all municipal schools on December 3. The teams were shortlisted from each school after the zone-level competition. The final city-level round,among 300 students representing 19 teams,was concluded on Monday. While one team was from Class I-V,the remaining were from upper primary schools.
Cash awards of Rs 5,000,Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 were given to the three winning teams – Mahatma Gandhi Ashram Shala,Behrampura Shala and Asarwa Gujarati Shala,the Number 1,2 and 3 teams respectively. These teams will also be trained by special choreographers and experts for the presentation during Kankaria Carnival to be held in the last week of December.
The idea behind this project is to create awareness about malnourishment and send across a message to parents. Students enacted various ways to fight malnourishment and the importance of having a healthy diet. This is for the first time in the history of the AMC school board that such an initiative has been taken. We have been organising debate and elocution competitions among students,but a play competition on malnourishment is for the first time, said AMC School Board chairman Jagdish Bhavsar. He added that the school board was planning to organise a rally by students on malnourishment. The budget on ways to fight malnourishment among school students has already been allocated, said Bhavsar.
The School Health Programme (SHP) for the year 2012-13 revealed that an alarming number of 4.37 lakh children have been suffering from anaemia and malnutrition. A total of 1.5 crore students in 99,036 anganwadi centres,primary,secondary and higher secondary school across the state were covered under the health programme.
In response to the huge number of anaemic and malnourished children in the state,the state Health Department started taking measures in collaboration with the Education Department. After health awareness meetings with parents,vitamin supplements are being administered to students in schools and distributed among parents,keeping in view the high deficiency of vitamins among school children. The Health Department will be roped in to train the winning teams for the presentation during Kankaria Carnival. A team of health experts,including doctors and dieticians,will work with the school board on this project.