A study by Urban HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) and released by Naandi Foundation, found that one in four children in India’s most populous cities is malnourished. Mother’s education, feeding patterns and government service delivery determines children’s nutrition in addition to household wealth. The Guild of Service was aware of these facts when it started Nutrition-On-Wheels way back in 1968, to address these very issues. The objective of setting up the Unit was to provide at least one proper meal to over 5000 malnourished children across 22 slums in Chennai. Gradually the centres started functioning as balwadis and crèches for the infants and toddlers from the poor families living in that locality. Today the project has transformed into a community project involved in the following activities.
The Nutrition-On-Wheels (N-O-W) crèches provide pre-school education along with balanced nutrition and medical cover to children in the critical age group between 2-5 years in the city slums and in the fishing villages along the East Coast Road. The creches which were earlier funded by the Central Social Welfare Board under the Rajiv Gandhi Creche scheme are now run by the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
Skills Development Programme
N-O-W started skills’ development programmes in diverse areas to train underprivileged women and to make them self-reliant. Training programmes are conducted in embroidery, artificial jewellery making and beauty therapy. These courses help women with minimum educational qualifications to get trained and earn a decent living while working from their homes. A starter kit is provided on completion of the course to help them get established. In response to the constant requests from school and college pass outs to conduct courses which would help them join the regular workforce, N-O-W started training programmes in Basic Computer skills, Spoken English and Tally. The Computer course trains the students on MS Office, internet and on financial literacy. Placement assistance is provided for students passing out from all the courses and most students who have completed any of the courses are either gainfully employed or self-employed.
Disaster Relief Support
Apart from the above, N-O-W has also been providing relief support during natural calamities. It helped rebuild many fishing villages on ECR and provided community support after the devastating tsunami of 2004. Deserving and bright children from these communities are financially assisted in completing college.
The GOS-Nutrition on Wheels creche has over the past years helped pre-school children get admission at some of the most well renowned schools in Chennai under the Right to Education (RTE) programme. Every year a minimum of at least 5 children secure admission in Lady Andal School, Sherwood Hall, Chinmaya Mission, Union Christian School, Sindhi Model School and others.
Mrs. Komala, a teacher at the Mangalapuram Creche takes great initiative in training these children, advising the parents on how to apply for free education under the act. Mrs. Komala had earned the appreciation of the parents as well as the management for helping the children in admission in good schools without any expectation for her selfless work.
The GOS-NOW Soft Skills training programmes has changed the lives of many girls from underprivileged backgrounds. The college and high school pass-outs are trained and made industry ready. The girls find gainful employment in tele-calling, data entry and as receptionists at companies such as Health & Glow, Rupee Zone and Medplus.
The vocational skills training programme runs courses in beauty therapy, artificial jewellery making and embroidery.
Prabha was a trainee of the first batch of ‘Hair and Beauty Therapy’ course conducted by N-O-W in 1993. On completion of the course, she took a loan and started her own beauty salon. Gradually she grew her business and is the proud owner of 3 salons.
A few years ago, she decided to give back to the organisation from where she started
her journey. Prabha tied up with N-O-W and has conducted courses in Beauty and Hair therapy and in Embroidery and Artificial Jewellery making. She hopes many other girls will be financially independent and find success like her.
Rekha was supported by the Nutrition- on- Wheel’s Student’s Sponsorship programme. Her father as an alcoholic and mother supported the family working as housemaid. Rekha completed B.Sc Physics from Stella Maris and went onto do her M.C.A. Along with her studies, Rekha was encouraged to learn Japanese. She enjoyed learning the new language and cleared the various levels of examinations with ease.
Presently, Rekha is employed at a well-known University as a Japanese lecturer earning close to Rs. 50,000/ month and is well settled.
Email id:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone no: 044 – 2819 2090