In this 2016 year-end issue of our bi-annual newsletter, you’ll read how your contributions are protecting 1.2 million children from Vitamin A Deficiency Disease (VADD) while increasing their chances for survival beyond their first five years of life. This remarkable achievement is due to the generosity of our donors as well as the committed participation of our suppliers, field partners and volunteers in India. Through your ongoing support, SevaChild will be able to safeguard 2 million children in 2017. We hope you will enjoy these heart-warming stories your contributions made possible.
Many of you participated in last year’s fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 during the last three weeks of December. Thanks to you, we surpassed our goal and raised $11,248! This amount will provide 10,000+ children with the nutrients they need to protect them from vitamin A deficiency.
Please think about that for a moment. Such a relatively small amount of money is going to make a world of difference for over ten thousand Indian children. Many of these children’s lives will – quite literally — be saved, and they will live to see their first day in primary school at age five. The eyesight of other youngsters will be protected from night blindness, which is caused by insufficient vitamin A intake. Lack of vitamin A has been linked to stunted growth in children under the age of five, and all of the little ones receiving supplementation will have the cognitive functioning skills necessary to attend and succeed in school.
On behalf of the thousands of children who will benefit from this campaign, we would like to thank you for responding to this call. We are truly humbled by your generosity, and we take very seriously the trust you have placed in us through your gifts to help transform these children’s lives.
Last October, SevaChild (along with the Rural Development Institute the Divine Shakti Foundation and Him Jyoti School for Girls) conducted a health, hygiene and sanitation awareness day at Mayakund, the largest slum in Rishikesh.
Every child under the age of five living in Mayakund received vitamin A and albendazole (an antiparasitic agent). In addition, the children and their mothers were examined by RDI health practitioners, after which health problems were treated free of cost. With health as the central theme, the children’s mothers were quizzed on that topic. Those parents who knew the answers were awarded prizes of health and hygiene kits.
Traveling from the United States for the event, SevaChild founder Rick Carlton said, “SevaChild has been working in India for several years to address vitamin A deficiency in children under five years of age. This is in recognition of the fact that vitamin A deficiency is a devastating disease that can render a child blind and even take a child’s life if not addressed.”
From its mobile van stationed at the venue, the Divine Shakti Foundation distributed Information – Education – Communication (IEC) materials and screened health awareness films; for more than four hours, its mobile kitchen busily prepared lunches for over 500 local residents. The girls from Him Jyoti School in Dehradun arrived early to assist in the preparations. They performed a play on health and hygiene awareness, and served meals to the men, women and children of Mayakund throughout the day.
SevaChild has developed a network of over 2,000 distribution partners who administered vitamin A and albendazole to over 1 million children in 2015, and to 1.2 million children in 2016. We will continue to build on those efforts, with a goal of protecting 2 million children from vitamin A deficiency by the end of 2017.
Watch a short video of children playing in the Mayakund slum during the October event (See the “Event at Mayakund” Story above). Witnessing their sheer joy and abandonment amidst the backdrop of such a desperately poor environment is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and reminds us of the importance of protecting their little bodies from the disease that is so prevalent there.
These children and their younger siblings are the beneficiaries of the disease preventing and life-saving nutrients made possible by your generous donations to SevaChild. In fact, for every dollar you give, SevaChild provides one child like the ones in the video with a nutritional safety net that will protect them from the devastation of Vitamin A Deficiency Disease (VADD).
Sivana Spirit is an Encinitas-based retailer focused on the ancient practice of yoga, the movement towards living a life of enhanced consciousness, and seva (selfless service). Sivana’s founders are making a positive difference in the lives of thousands of children in need by donating a percentage of all the company’s sales to SevaChild.
At the present time, all contributions made to SevaChild from Sivana’s website will be generously matched with a Sivana e-gift card of equal value.
We encourage you to share Sivana’s offer with your family and friends, and to explore Sivana’s retail site and blog, which are full of inspiration.