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Sixteen year-old Sudha resides in a slum in Haiderpur district in Delhi. She lives with her parents and younger brother inside a small room without natural light and ventilation. Her mother works as a domestic help. Sudha’s day starts with going to school, attending tutorials post school and helping her mother do household chores in the evening. Sudha’s favourite subject in school is science and she dreams of becoming a teacher when she grows up.

Earlier, Sudha would often join her friends for a quick snack from the roadside vendors post her tuition classes in the evening. Many of these vendors did not have proper hygiene in place and sometimes do not wash their hands while preparing the food. The surroundings of the food cart would be unclean. Due to the lack of hygiene in the vendor’s food, Sudha would fall ill taking a toll on her performance in school.

One day, a Magic Bus volunteer visited Sudha’s home to speak about the Nestlé Healthy Kids programme which was aimed at providing awareness and education on good nutrition and healthy eating habits among adolescents. The volunteer convinced Sudha’s mother to send her for the Sunday sessions at the municipal park. Worried by Sudha’s deteriorating health, her mother forcibly sent her to attend the session.

Bringing about healthy smiles

The session under the Healthy Kids programme brought about a healthy change in her thinking and lifestyle. In the very first session, Sudha learnt about the importance of a nutritious diet for growth and overall well-being.

Sudha has been associated with this programme for one and a half years now and her mother also attends the sessions with her once in a while. They implement the learnings received at the sessions while washing vegetables, planning meals and cooking. Sudha has started eating green vegetables and home cooked food, sleeps on time and stays happy and healthy. She has also learnt about the importance of physical exercise for leading a fit life. She regularly practices the exercises taught during the sessions at home.

Sudha and her family’s life has changed for the better. She is an active member of the programme and receives trainings on good nutrition practices from mentors and youth leaders through fun games and activities. She and her mother now encourage other locality members to learn about good nutrition and the role it plays in shaping lives.

Nestlé partnered with the NGO Magic Bus in 2014 to promote healthy eating habits, better hygiene, regular play and gender sensitivity among children in government schools across the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Vizag and Hyderabad. The programme has reached out to about 52,000 adolescents in government schools till end 2015, with each child receiving over 30 hours of nutrition training. In 2016, we expanded the programme across Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Mysore, Guwahati and Vishakhapatnam and reached out to over 78,000 students. In 2017, the program will reach out to 1,40,000 students across 18 states.