BALCO’s Project Arogya empowers mothers and children with better nutritional outcomes

The early years of a child significantly influence their physical and cognitive development, laying the foundation for a healthy life, with proper nutrition playing an especially important role. Recognizing the significance of National Safe Motherhood Day, Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO), India’s Iconic Aluminium producer and a unit of Vedanta Aluminium, continues its impactful Project Arogya. This comprehensive health initiative underscores the crucial role of good nutrition, particularly during children’s formative years. As part of this program, BALCO conducts PD Hearth sessions to empower mothers with essential knowledge on nutrition and healthcare. In FY 2024 alone, the initiative has supported the development needs of over 3500 mothers and 2400 malnourished children across villages in Chhattisgarh. Through rural health posts and health camps, Project Arogya has ensured improved access to proper nutrition in the remotest areas of the state, ensuring the health and well-being of several rural communities.

Project Arogya employs comprehensive health screenings to first categorize children based on their nutritional status. Children with severe malnutrition are immediately referred to the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre for specialized treatment. Those identified with moderate malnutrition are included in Positive Deviance (PD) Hearth group nutrition sessions that span 12 days, which aim to serve as focused turning points in both the children’s and mothers’ nutritional journey.

It helped Savitri Yadav from Bhadrapara immensely battling her 19-month-old son Shresth’s malnutrition. Savitri committed herself wholeheartedly and says, “In those 12 days, I devoted my efforts completely to Shresth’s health. Shresth’s weight shot up by over 700 grams, liberating him from the grip of malnutrition. The 60-day follow-up helped to further monitor and assess his continued progress”.

Salma from Nehru Nagar relied on packed and processed snacks for her child’s nutritional needs until Project Arogya intervened. Starting her culinary journey through Take Home Ration (THR) recipe sessions, Salma embraced the benefits of simple yet nutritious dishes. The project improves existing food practices, leveraging THR provisions received from the government to teach and elevate nutritious recipes. For Salma, it meant discovering innovative ways to incorporate leafy vegetables into everyday meals, ensuring her child received vital nutrients and also enjoyed a well-rounded diet, thereby significantly contributing to her child’s improved health.

Another mother from Nehru Nagar, Mamta Farrey, emerged as a true catalyst for change, by extending her healthy nutrition practices beyond her own household. Volunteering in nearby villages, Mamta selflessly imparts her knowledge, providing training sessions to other mothers. Her mission is to foster a collective endeavor for ensuring the well-being of every child. She witnessed the transformative impact of Project Arogya on her son Kunal, who battled severe malnutrition earlier. She actively engaged in improving her child’s well-being through THR recipes, PD Hearth sessions, and a flourishing kitchen garden. She emphasizes, “Project Arogya acts like a lifeline for mothers like me. It took my child from the shadows of malnutrition to a thriving, normal life. Now, as I extend my hand to other mothers, we are together cultivating a healthy community.”

As an integral part of Project Arogya, BALCO collaborates annually with the District Health Department to celebrate Poshan Maah, a month-long program initiated by the Government of India dedicated to maternal and child health. These transformative efforts extend beyond mere health improvements, with the goal of sowing the seeds of sustainable empowerment and long-term resilience within the communities we serve. It is not only a project which focuses on maternal and childcare, but also conducts awareness campaigns on HIV, Tuberculosis (TB), and substance de-addiction. In FY 2024, Project Arogya has impacted 49,000+ lives.

Project Arogya has received notable acclaim for its dedication to improving the nutrition and well-being of mothers and children. In 2022, BALCO was honored with the SABERA award for this comprehensive healthcare initiative. Building on this success, Project Arogya secured the First Runner-up award at the Glenmark Nutrition Awards 2024, highlighting its transformative impact on community health. Additionally, BALCO’s commitment to social impact was further recognized at the 6th ICC Social Impact Summit & Awards, 2024, where ‘Project Arogya’ excelled in the category of ‘Reducing Child Mortality and Improving Maternal Health.’ Furthermore, BALCO received the prestigious “Governor’s Scroll of Honour,” affirming our dedication to Corporate Social Responsibility and community welfare. They underscore the impactful strides and transformative outcomes achieved by Project Arogya in the realm of community health and welfare.

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