Nestlé’s partnership with Magic Bus is based on the shared vision that well-nourished children are more capable learners, grow into healthier adults and are able to give their own children a better start to life. In the communities that Magic Bus works in, there is a lack of awareness of the significant influence nutrition has on children’s physical and cognitive development. Children attending Magic Bus sessions come from some of the most disadvantaged communities, where meeting basic food requirements is a daily struggle. They are vulnerable to malnutrition and all its consequences. Nestlé, in partnership with Magic Bus, is implementing the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme to educate children on the importance of health and nutrition.
In 2015, Magic Bus was working with 50,000 school children in Mumbai, Delhi, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai under the Nestlé Healthy Kids initiative.
In 2016, this programme was scaled up to reach 75,000 children in three additional cities –Mysore, Guwahati and Kolkata. In 2017, the partnership was once again expanded, this time to support 1,44,000 children across 18 states in India. In 2018, Nestle Healthy Kids programme will be supporting 1,45,000 children across 18 states.
Masood, a 15 –year- old boy from Bhalaswa, a poor neighbourhood in North Delhi, is now the 10th Grade. He lives in a joint family, with 10 members. His father is a fruit seller and his mother is a housewife. He has been part of the Magic Bus- Nestlé Healthy Kids Program for the last two years.
In this time, Masood was learning about foods that are important for the body and health, ones that support the body with its functions, ones that are nutritious by their functions: energy, bodybuilding, protective etc.
Recently, Masood contracted the deadly Dengue fever (a mosquito-borne tropical disease) and was on bed rest for three weeks. As a result, he was not able to attend school or go for the Magic Bus activity-based sessions. The fever left him weak. He lost weight and was not able to break the high fever, even with regular medication.
“I suddenly recalled that we had learnt that the Kiwi fruit helps in fighting Dengue,” Masood recalls. “At the Magic Bus activity-based learning sessions, we had been told that Kiwi is known to help increase the platelet count in the blood which drops drastically when we contract Dengue. Since it’s a tasty fruit, helping get over the aversion to food. Apart from boosting energy levels, Kiwi is also known to reduce fatigue due to dengue.”
Since Masood’s father was a fruit seller, he was able to access the Kiwi fruit easily. Regular intake of the fruit enabled him to recover completely and get back to a normal routine.
“I was soon back in school and at my Magic Bus sessions,” he says. “You can say it was a life-saving learning for me!”