23rd Nov, 2017
I am Prathibha, 17 years old, daughter of Basavaraj. The village I reside in, named Marakaldoddi in Devadurga taluk of Raichur district has only one anganwadi and a primary school but there is no facility for public transportation . There is extreme poverty in my house and we are a family of 5 members; I have an older and a younger sibling. I was able to study only till 8th standard after which I was forced to work as a day wage laborer owing to the financial condition of our family. Although I was very much interested to learn, I was deprived of the opportunity since I had to contribute to the family income.
Until September 2015, I didn’t have anyone to come and counsel me about taking care of my health. Gangamma, a VNV working for the nutrition pilot project approached my father and provided him all the necessary information about the project, its objectives and activities. Once he was convinced, she registered me with the project and recorded basic information about me in the nutrition card. Additionally, my weight and height was measured; I weighed 38 kg and measured 154 cm in height. Over the course of time, she visited my house every month and would provide me information about many topics. She helped me recall my food habits and then counselled me about the locally available nutrient dense foods to be consumed. I was told about the foods that give energy and that help in body formation. She also taught me about personal hygiene.
We had a toilet constructed at home but we weren’t using it since it was not constructed in a usable manner. During the AG group meetings, I had learned about the benefits of toilets and ill-effects of not using them. I insisted my parents to get the toilet repaired in way that it can be used and now everyone at home use toilet. The AG group meeting also explained the importance of IFA tablets after which I tried to consume it regularly. We also started purifying the drinking water in our house. All these changes took a long time but finally I succeeded in changing the behavior of my parents. In the month of August 2016, when Gangamma visited my house to record my weight and height, she was taken by surprise. I weighed 44.5 kg and measured 155 cm; I had increased my weight by 6.5 kg. The information provided by VNV was very valuable and I followed all her instructions and was also supported by my family.
Subsequently I started receiving FBF and I started consuming it every day before going to work. I feel energetic after consuming FBF porridge. Along with FBF, I have started incorporating fruits, vegetables, sprouts and pulses in my regular diet. In June this year when she visited, my weight had further increased by 1 kg. Now Gangamma uses me as a role model to influence other beneficiaries in the village. By following the advice, I have set an example that our health can improve by changing our behavior.