Noting that proper nutrition, healthcare and education during the first five years is essential for the development of a child’s brain, NGO CRY has initiated a campaign to reach out to over 2.5 lakh children to raise awareness about their rights.
The nation-wide online campaign ‘Joy of Five’ is CRY’s fund-raising effort and part of the umbrella initiative “Healthy Start” which is focused on essential care, nutrition and education of children in the age group 0-6 years.
The first five years’ phase is very crucial for a child as 80 per cent of brain development takes place in this age and an emphasis on proper and effective nutrition, health care and education in this age is not only important but necessary, Child Rights and You (CRY) said in a statement.
With the campaign, CRY aims to reach out to 2,50,532 children in the age group of 2-5 years across its project areas and work to make sure they reach the ‘5th birthday’ milestone. “The age 2-5 is a phase of maximum vulnerability as deprivation can seriously impact a child’s health, and learning potential,” Director, Resource Mobilisation of CRY, Anita Bala Sharad said.
Pointing out that vaccine preventable diseases are still responsible for over five lakh deaths annually in India, she said, “Inadequate nutrition and healthcare leads to many children not being able to reach the critical milestone of 5 years. With this campaign we are highlighting the importance of children being able to celebrate their fifth birthday.”
A CRY associate said millions of children in India do not reach the age of five as they are deprived of the basic rights in their early childhood. According to a National Family Health Survey, 48.4 per cent of children under five are stunted (an indicator of chronic malnutrition) while 20 per cent are wasted (too thin for their height) an indicator of acute malnutrition.