Our nonprofit partner SevaChild is doing some pretty inspiring and life-changing work in India that we wanted you to know about. Their mission is protecting children who are at risk of the world’s number one cause of childhood blindness and a major cause of early childhood deaths – vitamin A deficiency, or VAD. The need is huge with over 50,000 Indian children dying every year due to a simple lack of vitamin A in their diets. Thousands more are at risk of night blindness, stunted growth, and a host of entirely preventable conditions like wasting and severe developmental delay.
SevaChild has a solution that is remarkably simple and effective.
Through the combined efforts of this small organization made up mostly of volunteers and four employees (two in the U.S. and two in India), SevaChild is reaching over 2 million Indian children with vitamin A micronutrients that can quite literally save their lives. Just one dose every six months is all they need to have enough vitamin A for six months. That dose can boost their immune system significantly so they are better able to fight off vitamin A deficiency, the condition that leaves them vulnerable to all those terrible conditions and even death.
SevaChild’s work in 2020 will take their teams to the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana where they are adding another 10,000 children to their vitamin A program this year. Eight new distribution partners have been organized and are interviewing families in both remote rural areas and urban slums to find the children who are most at-risk for vitamin A deficiency. This can be a painstaking and lengthy process, but every malnourished child found makes the effort so worthwhile. We anticipate that distribution events will begin this month.
We’re also happy to tell you that in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, over 5,000 children who are new to SevaChild’s programs will have received their first dose of vitamin A by March. Those distribution teams will continue to seek out malnourished children until about an additional 10,000 children, and perhaps more, have received their first vitamin A doses.
Project directors record families’ and children’s names, dates of vitamin administration, and other pertinent information in a database to track all the children, thereby ensuring that they receive vitamin A doses every six months. It is this kind of regularity that strengthens a child’s immune system and decreases the possibility that he or she will suffer from those VAD-related illnesses and, hopefully, to grow up healthy, strong, and ready to start school by age five.
It means a lot to us that we can share this kind of good news with you. Your support of purchases from TinyRituals will allow us to continue supporting SevaChild and all those many children who are currently receiving vitamin A. And your direct donations to SevaChild at www.sevachild.org/donate will help even more. With every dollar you give another child will receive life-protecting vitamin A for a whole year.
Please return regularly to our blog as we will post updates from our friends at SevaChild as we receive them.