Skip to main content

Meet the change makers- ‘Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages’

As the peer educators recount their biggest achievement so far was to be able to convince the tobacco retailers in their locality to not sell tobacco products to a person under 18....
By Vindhya| 13-09-2016
How elated I was to see such happy faces at Chattarpur located in the south west district of Delhi, India. Chattarpur is famous for Shree Adya Katyayani Shakti Peeth, popularly known as the Chattarpur temple. The young eyes were full of questions, one of them being; why is this clumsy saree clad woman here? What are we going to talk about today; Leadership, Health, career, future, past, what? Well, let me tell you, these young faces are the peer educators who work/volunteer/intern at Nada India in their free time and help reinforce healthy behaviors in their communities by educating families on non-communicable diseases.

One of the peer educators, Chanda tells me very proudly, “I want to help people. I want to help them change their behavior.” Chanda is an 18 year old Muslim girl who lives with her family in Bapu Camp, an urban slum in south Delhi. Chanda continues with teary eyes, how she used to be a shy scarf clad girl. She could not even cross a road without holding her mother’s hand.Now, as I sit across her I find Chanda sitting very confidently in a bright orange salwar kameez and long danglers. Continuing her story of bringing in change in the community she tells me proudly, how she was able to convince people around her to make healthy choices. Chanda along with eight other peer educators with a similar background regularly visit families and make them or rather talk to them about non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer and alcohol & tobacco addiction. These peer educators are 15-18 years old students and are part of the same community which makes it easier for them to understand and make a connection with the families.

Before taking up the role of a peer educator they are trained at Nada India center by a team of enthusiastic professionals comprising doctors, counselors, and peer leaders. Along with technical details of these diseases they are also trained in leadership qualities, inter-intra personal skills helping them better communicate and understand their surroundings. They talk to the families in a very simple language and tell them how a simple change in one’s lifestyle can bring about a huge difference in the long run. Simple changes like reducing intake of salt can help regulate one’s blood pressure, consuming tobacco in any form is harmful for your body, and alcohol addiction not only affects the user but is equally harmful for the family. They tell me with a bright smile on their faces how because of them so many people have actually reduced the consumption of alcohol and tobacco; the biggest example being their own family.

Five out of nine peer educators share how their fathers were addicted to alcohol and despite being girls how they managed to make them understand and help them reduce their alcohol consumption. But this journey was or is not so rosy after all. They had or still have bad days when people question them “how does it matter to you?” “It is my life and let it be”. Neha shares, “I was looked upon as if I was wasting my time.” But that didn’t stop me from visiting every family in my locality and spreading awareness. I realized that the problem in the locality is that people are uneducated and unaware; they don’t really know the harmful effects of everyday lifestyles. We really need to educate them and I am ready to do that. Come what may!” Heena is the only girl in her locality who is pursuing a full time course at a college in University of Delhi. She travels to Bawana everyday which takes around two hours from her house and never misses a class. Well I have to say, she has the spark and a perfect example of a role model for change. As the peer educators recount their biggest achievement so far was to be able to convince the tobacco retailers in their locality to not sell tobacco products to a person under 18. Along with creating awareness among the tobacco sellers and they have put up statutory warnings at the nearby shops as part of Nada campaign and regularly visits the place to monitor their activities. Though illegal in India selling tobacco products to a minor is still a cause for concern and takes away the right of a child to live and grow in a healthy environment.


Popular posts from this blog

Drug Free........ and Healthy India?

OPINIONDrug Free India?.......Prof. T K Thomas 26 Feb, 2019 
Two weeks back, this column carried a piece entitled “Hooch Victims: Not Just Numbers!” about death of over 40 people after drinking illicit liquor. A bigger hooch tragedy last week killed over 150 tea garden workers and over 300 hospitalized for critical care in Assam’s Golaghat. A friend asked why such frequent occurrence of hooch tragedies and deaths of poor and marginalized people and why no action is being taken to prevent such tragedies. Familiar with the problem of addiction in the country, he wondered why the government was more concerned about drug addiction and not on alcohol addiction. It took some time to explain to him how the two problems were being handled by two separate ministries of the government of India-Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for drugs and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for alcohol.
Last week on 19th February, the Prime Minister through a video address launched a campaign for …

Youth first to make the universal health coverage a reality....

Prof.T K Thomas
04 Jun, 2019 
“with the growing young population in India, it becomes extremely important to involve youth and understand their needs at the policy level. This can help them to effectively deal with the cross cutting issues like linkages between alcoholism, tobacco use and tuberculosis. The government must make the political decision to put youth first to make the universal health coverage a reality.”The annual World No Tobacco Day was observed on 31st May. The day is observed by the World Health Organization [WHO] and global partners as an opportunity to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form. This year’s focus for the day was, “Tobacco and lung health”. Everyone knows how tobacco affects our lungs. The WHO release says, the campaign will increase awareness on, “the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health, from cancer, to chronic respiratory diseases…

'Involvement of youth and patient must to make healthcare acceptable & accessible for all ' ...said Suneel Vatsyayan #YoungIndiaNetwork

CHANDIGARH: The Centre for Social Work organised a one-day workshop on 'Social Work Intervention' for non-communicable diseases (NCD) at the department here on Saturday. The workshop was conducted by Suneel Vatsyayan, chairperson , Nada India Foundation, New Delhi and Pallavi, Nada project Director. Speaking on the occasion, Suneel Vatsyayan a practicing social worker and NAPSWI board member said,
 "A #meaningful involvement of #youth and patient is very important for making our #healthcare system acceptable ,accessible and available for all. Their participation at local and policy level is important to make universal health coverage a success.These young social workers were trained to join the young health work  force during these workshops." Pallavi shared the burden of non-communicable diseases in the country and across the world and the
different social work interventions required while working with youngsters.
The workshop was inaugurated by 
Dr Rajesh Kumar Chander…