From participant to advocate: A young woman shares her story to prevent anaemia
Shubhangi Kori is a college student in Madhya Pradesh, India. She wrote the following blog during the pandemic detailing her experience with Nutrition International to prevent anaemia, and how she ended up speaking to 2,000 youth about nutrition.
Posted on March 4, 2021
I am Shubhangi Kori, a resident of the Polipathar area in Jabalpur district. I live in my maternal grandmother’s home with my family. I am the first person in my family to go to college, no one has studied this long before me.
My mother wished to study but she couldn’t due to her circumstances. Now, my family wishes that I study well and have a successful career. I try to fulfill the dreams of my family to do something different. I have enrolled in a Bachelor of Technology program and study regularly. I feel motivated to achieve something with my life. I am also preparing for competitive exams along with my studies. I always try to do something different with the opportunities lying ahead of me.
I used to be a little lethargic. Though my daily work used to go on, there was no creativity at all. I used to feel fatigued after doing little work. Then, on the advice of the anganwadi didi [community health worker], I started taking iron and folic acid tablet weekly and made a slight change in the food I ate. When I first came to know about the tablets, I did not pay attention, but then from the anganwadi didi and also from my school, I came to know that taking this tablet will increase my concentration and I will also be physically strong.
I dreamed of becoming a successful engineer and for that, I knew I had to stay healthy. I started taking the iron tablet and eating nutritious food which helped me to focus on my studies and I graduated from high school with good marks. Now, I am studying in an engineering college. I help with work at home, prepare for exams, and also do some creative work.
I always felt that I should tell all the teenage girls like me about the benefits of taking iron and folic acid tablets and a balanced diet working together. One day I received a call from Child Development Project Officer Mr. Vikesh Rai Sir and he informed me that Nutrition International was organizing a webinar, in which I would be asked to tell my experiences so that all the teens participating in it could listen to me and learn the benefits of the iron tablets and balanced diet. In this webinar, there were many girls from my district and some experts as well. I use social media tools, but this was the first time I was connected via Zoom to about 900 people in a webinar for Jabalpur and about 1,100 people in a webinar for Seoni.
In the webinar, everyone listened to my thoughts very attentively. It was great to see that many teenagers like me also heard this discussion and praised what I said. Frankly, I thought it made buying a smartphone worthwhile! I have learned a lot about nutrition at the anganwadi centre and from Nutrition International’s officials. They have educated me about stuff like how with the right nutrition and by staying healthy we can fulfill our dreams, how to get good nutrition from our kitchen, how adolescence is the second opportunity for development for us teenagers, and what is the importance of iron in our future life.
I feel great that even today the girls of my anganwadi centre ask me questions related to nutrition and iron. I tell them things I know and sometimes I talk to the auxiliary nurse midwife or the anganwadi worker for the rest of the questions and pass on information to them.
By eating nutritious food, adopting healthy habits, and with hard work and perseverance, I am confident that one day I will become a successful engineer. This is not only my dream, but my family’s dream as well.
This blog was originally written in Hindi. This is a translation.
Nutrition International aims to reduce anaemia in adolescent girls through weekly iron and folic acid supplementation (WIFAS) and creates empowerment through nutrition counselling and education. In 2020, 3 million adolescent girls have been reached with the full scheme of WIFAS around the world and 1 million have been reached with nutrition education. In addition, 60,000 health and education workers have been trained on WIFAS. Find out more about our adolescent nutrition programs.