3. Child Care

These are my children, I have only put them in your care.

The children are the future of the nation and just as delicate buds, they too, especially the underprivileged and unfortunate ones, need careful nurturing and care in order to blossom to the fullest. The environment in which a large percentage of Indian children live in is unstable and fraught with difficulties. The rural child especially is confronted with a myriad of problems: lack of opportunities, illiteracy, poverty, parental neglect, ill-health, inadequate healthcare and many others. The poverty trap captures many such innocent, and poor children who are then forced into child labour in order to earn a livelihood, and, to put it quite simply – survive. However, this action is in itself self-defeating as many have to sacrifice their education – thereby denying them movement up the economic ladder – in order to support their families.

However, the road ahead is not completely bleak. Launched with the bold aim of improving the lives of thousands of rural children is 'Child Care' – one of the several initiatives under the umbrella of the Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care Programme. 'Child Care' aims to function in a unique manner to balance the ugly reality of their poor condition - by providing health and nutritional support - along with the necessary provision of education, both moral and academic.


1Shrimad Rajchandra Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Majority of the underprivileged tribal women admitted for delivery at Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital are hardly 18 to 20 years old, weigh only 35 to 40 kg and are severely anaemic. As a result, babies born to them are premature, of low birth weight and need extra special care. In the beginning, premature and sick babies, including babies from SRH, had to be transferred to hospitals in Valsad, especially for ventilator support. Unfortunately, the 30 kilometre journey to Valsad was too long and life threatening for these babies.

Neonatal Care offered by SRH grew to a new level when the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was set up in 2008, in order to not expose these babies to long, arduous journeys and treat them immediately.

Today, SRH’s state-of-the-art NICU is fully equipped with:

  • 9 Neonatal Trolleys with Warmers
  • 8 Neonatal Ventilators
  • 5 Phototherapy Units
  • 9 Multi-parameter Patient Monitors
  • 14 Automated Syringe Infusion Pumps
  • 2 Volumetric Pumps
  • Central Suction Facility etc.
  • Bubble CPAP ventilator

The NICU offers vital support and special care to premature and sick babies and fulfils the most important need of the geographical area. Around 500 babies are treated in the NICU of SRH, annually. For almost 20% of the babies admitted in this NICU, it is a matter of life and death, a fight for survival. In fact, SRH has treated and carefully nursed to good health, newborn infants weighing as low as 700 grams.


2Shrimad Rajchandra District Early Intervention Centre

Shrimad Rajchandra District Early Intervention Centre provides health services to support children in a holistic manner, addressing defects at birth, diseases, deficiencies and those with developmental delays or disabilities. These are the common child health problems observed in the local population and require integrated services from birth till the age of school entry. The multi-disciplinary approach includes evaluation and management of coexisting diseases and deficiencies all under the same roof. The simple concept of early intervention is to intervene early and minimise disability. Once the disability is identified, the intervention would include prevention of progression to handicap and ensuring the child’s development to the highest potential. Early identification of various health conditions and assured link to care, support and treatment forms an equitable child health care approach.

The Early Intervention Centre at Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital expanded its facilities many fold and received recognition as a District Early Intervention Centre. This new Shrimad Rajchandra District Early Intervention Centre (SRDEIC) was inaugurated on 28th March, 2015 by Shri J. P. Gupta, Commissioner for Health, Medical Services and Medical Education and Research - Government of Gujarat. Core Services provided by SRDEIC:

  • Medical services for evaluation and treatment of children suffering from diseases, deficiencies, disability and developmental delay by paediatrician, paediatric orthopaedic surgeon and paediatric neurologist.
  • Dental services for problems of teeth, gums and oral hygiene in children.
  • Physical therapy and occupational therapy services that relate to self-help skills; adaptive behaviour and play; sensory, motor, and postural development to prevent or lessen the difficulties in movement and related functional problems. Sensory integration, neurodevelopmental therapy as well as services for oro-motor and feeding difficulties rendered by expert physiotherapist and occupational therapist.
  • Vision services for identifying children with visual disorders. Early identification of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) for premature children by paediatric ophthalmologist and optometrist.
  • Audiology services for identifying and providing care to children with deafness by an ENT surgeon and audiologist.
  • Speech-language pathology services for children with delay in communication abilities or weakness of muscles around the mouth and difficulty in swallowing, by a speech and language pathologist.
  • Psychological services for evaluation of a child’s behaviour, mental health, learning disabilities etc. and planning services like counselling, consultation, parent training, behaviour modification.
  • Lab services for routine blood investigations to begin with, but slowly would develop services for confirming congenital hypothyroidism, thalessaemia and sickle-cell anaemia or other inherent errors in metabolism of children.
  • Nutrition services to address the nutritional needs of children that include identifying feeding problems and managing the same.
  • Social support services for preparing an assessment of the social as well as emotional strengths and needs of a child and family, also including individual or group counselling.
  • Special education services include designing learning environments and activities that promote the child’s development.
3Shrimad Rajchandra Child Malnutrition Treatment Centre

Majority of the people living in tribal areas in and around Dharampur are severely malnourished, especially mothers and babies, which make them highly vulnerable to serious health related problems. Many expectant mothers who deliver their babies at Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital (SRH) are premature or of low birth weight and need special care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This district has been identified by the Government of Gujarat as a High Priority Area, particularly for reducing infant and maternal deaths.

To tackle the root cause of these problems, Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital established the Shrimad Rajchandra Child Malnutrition Treatment Centre where children suffering from severe malnutrition are provided with correct nutrition and essential supplements under direct medical supervision for a period of 15-20 days. Once they are out of this acute malnutrition phase, they are followed up with periodically. Due to malnourishment, they are more susceptible to infections and then due to infections, they are pushed into malnutrition. The dedicated centre aims to break this vicious cycle and support the children towards a healthier future.


4Shrimad Rajchandra Mid-Day Meal Programme
Mid-day Meals:

This project involves the provision of highly nutritious hygienic meals, made by the Ashram, every day, to those children from the 10th to the 12th standard, who travel a distance of more than 15 kilometres to their schools, from far-off villages. This serves as a boost to the concentration levels of the benefited students, and is also a very attractive incentive for children to actually attend school.

Milk for School Children:

Tribal adivasi and other poor children attending school do not get their daily sustenance and the required nutrition that milk provides, milk being expensive and difficult to procure. This project undertakes the rehabilitation of cows to schools, which provides milk and milk products for consumption by the school children.

5 Shrimad Rajchandra Life Skills Programme

Shrimad Rajchandra Divinetouch conducts value-based education for children aged 4 to 15 years. Sessions are also held for rural schools, orphanages and aanganwadis.

The project also includes 'Quasi Adoption of Orphanages'. School children who grow out of the orphanages generally do not pursue graduation, and are highly vulnerable. They need guidance, support and resources to become self-reliant. This is a major focus area of future activities. Aanganwadis are also quasi-adopted and supported by providing value-based education.


6Shrimad Rajchandra Kala Utsav - Programme for Enhancing Talents

Rural India is a storehouse of talent in performing arts. If provided a platform, it would not only help the rural youth pursue their passion and establish a career in this field, but also strengthen the spiritual and social values of Indian culture in them. With this noble objective, ‘Shrimad Rajchandra Kala Utsav’ was launched in 2012. Shrimad Rajchandra Kala Utsav is an initiative that recognises and enhances the innate talents of the spirited youth from standards 9th to 12th of the rural schools, which can be gradually nurtured further as a career option for them. This annual event includes competitions in the fields of singing, dancing, music and mono-acting, conveying messages on patriotism, morality and social values. The winners are awarded cash prizes and all participants are gifted a certificate.

It is an excellent platform for the rural children to develop into their full potential, pursue a livelihood of their choice and move towards a meaningful existence.

Shrimad Rajchandra Remedial Education and Learning
7Shrimad Rajchandra Remedial Education and Learning (REAL)

A learning difficulty is a neurological disorder. Children with learning difficulties are as smart as or smarter than their peers, but they face difficulty in reading, writing, spelling and organising information if they are left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in a conventional manner. There are over ten million children in India and over one and a half lakh in Mumbai with such learning difficulties. Teachers and parents find it increasingly difficult to do justice to such children and educate them adequately. Child Care aims to provide the right support and intervention to children with learning difficulties so they may succeed in school and go on to be successful in life.

The activities under this project include:

  • Conducting workshops, seminars etc. to create awareness among parents and family members and help them accept their children willingly.
  • Providing the children with integrated care. This involves professionals working together and helping to arrive at common decisions along with the family on the correct care and management of the child.
  • To assist them by providing diagnostic assessment and remedial facilities and guiding them to counsellors and special educators.
  • To create parent support groups to cater to the needs of parents and encourage them.

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