As part of the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) scheme initiated by the Government of India in 1975, Anganwadi workers are on the front lines of the battle against child malnutrition. For the last 26 years, Nimish Kumari has been an Anganwadi worker in a ICDS centre in the village of Pargahi in Hardoi district of the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. She is well known in the village for her critical role taking care of the village’s children from the day they are born until they are able to attend school.
Nimish manages her village’s ICDS center, taking the utmost care to monitor the growth of children on a monthly basis and giving the right proportion of food to the children. She has taught the mothers in the village to cook nutritious food by cooking different recipes on different days and taught the children about the importance of handwashing and good nutrition. She also gives additional supplements to pregnant mothers in the village on a weekly basis and provides immunization doses to pregnant mothers and children on the 4th Wednesday of every month. When children are suffering from diarrhea, Nimish is there to distribute ORS packets to mothers. She also provides iron tablets to adolescent girls and pregnant mothers to prevent anemia.
Recently, World Vision India’s Hardoi Area Development Program selected Nimish to monitor the growth of malnourished children through the Emergency Nutrition Campaign that was organized in the village for 90 days. At that time, there were 26 severely malnourished children in the village. Ninety days later, there were only two children who were severely malnourished, while 16 children had moved from severe to normal, and 8 children remained moderately malnourished. She currently visits 5 houses every day to continuously monitor the growth of the children. Both of Nimish’s daughters are graduates, and it is her wish that every girl child in the village is able to become a graduate. Nimish is helping Pargahi’s children get off to the right start in life through her nutrition education and support.