Christmas with a Difference!

This year’s Christmas is very much different for Raghu (Name Changed). He stays in this Orphanage (name withheld) located in Kolkata since he was two years old. This indeed is a different Christmas with Cakes and lot of Gifts and a tasty full meal today for all his friends too who stay here together and share the joy & challenges of life together!

As reported by UNICEF in its latest report, India’s growth over the last two decades has contributed phenomenally to global human development. Extreme poverty in India reduced to 21 per cent, infant mortality has more than halved, some 80 per cent of women now deliver in a health facility and two million fewer children are out-of-school. These are significant achievements for a country that is home to nearly a sixth of the world’s population. But tough challenges still remain and India’s economic successes have not resulted in improved quality of life for everyone everywhere, especially children. High levels of malnutrition (38.4 per cent children are stunted), poor learning outcomes (only 42.5 per cent of children in grade three can read a grade one text), vaccine preventable diseases and child labour persist. India is the only large country where more girls die than boys, with the inverse sex ratio at birth being 900 girls born for every 1000 boys.

Globally 7 per cent more boys die under the age of 5 compared to girls but in India, 11 per cent more girls die under the age of five. Children from rural areas, slums and urban poor families, scheduled castes, tribal communities and other disadvantaged populations suffer from multiple deprivations related to poverty, malnutrition, access to quality health services, child marriage, poor school attendance, low learning outcomes, lack of sanitation facilities, hygiene, and access to improved water. India has the largest adolescent population in the world, 253 million, and every fifth person is between 10 to 19 years. India stands to benefit socially, politically and economically if this large number of adolescents are safe, healthy, educated and equipped with information and life skills to support the country’s continued development.

We should not forget that in India,
• India is home to the largest undernourished population in the world
• 189.2 million People i.e, 14 % of India’s population is under nourished
• 20% of children under age 5 are underweight
• 34.7 % of children under 5 years of age are stunted

Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation is committed to change the lives of millions of such children through social outreach initiatives. On the occasion of pre-Christmas celebrations, researchers and volunteers from the foundation visited one of the oldest orphanages of Calcutta to celebrate the festival of cakes with the kids. A cake cutting ceremony was followed by song, dance and lot of gifts (including winter clothing and blankets) amid claps and cheer by the crowd. After that all had the hot tasty full meal. Every smiling face was beaming with Christmas joy and happiness!

Such moments in their lives are not very often. Though they are taken care off by the orphanage, but social and goodwill interventions of such kind lifts their spirits up. India needs bigger interventions in this domain to change the lives of millions of such children. Corporates should come along to this cause.

Under the aegis of Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation, International Institute of Innovation and Technology (I3T) was inaugurated on January 1, 2018 with a vision of serving the healthcare needs of the public in West Bengal and in our country at large. I3T is a partner of Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, the leading university of public health in the world. This alliance is first of its kind in India, where Johns Hopkins is establishing the Johns Hopkins University Maternal and Child Health Center India (MCHI) and the Vaccine Research Center, along with International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC). This collaboration with The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), USA is for various Research and Public Health initiatives. The institute aims to provide educational and research programs in the public health domain for the first time in Eastern India. “This strategic alliance is going to improve the basic health care facilities and research aspects of public health care on a large scale in India, says Dr. Pradip Ghosh, Founder Chairman of the foundation and I3T, a visionary educationist and a social entrepreneur, who believes strongly in the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’ (The world is one family).

Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation has been involved in different initiatives in health sector in India since 2014 through its various social outreach activities. Amidst the crisis of COVID 19 during the second wave, Foundation tried to implement the Rapid Antigen Services in the rural centre of Shreenagar PHC in collaboration with AIIMS- Kalyani and also around 300 oxygen concentrators were handed over to state health department, ESI hospital, Police Stations, Bharat Sevashram Sangha, various complexes & NGOs. Foundation is committed to impact and change the lives of millions of Indians through education and public health initiatives.

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