Did you know that over 33 lakh children in our country are malnourished and over 50% of them fall under the severe category?
To tackle this heart wrenching situation, the Spirulina Chikki project was initiated by Spirulina Foundation in partnership with Jindal Steel Works, Bellary. As a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility JSW conducted a health survey of people living in and around Bellary and they found out that people especially children had iron deficiency. It was identified that lack of micronutrients among children was the major reason for malnutrition leading to stunting and wasting among children. Through their efforts/research they zeroed in on spirulina which is a nature’s gift having a bounty of micronutrients which is also bioabsorbable. Spirulina unfortunately is not palatable to even elders let alone children. That is how the spirulina chikki came to be. Normal chikkis were fortified with spirulina by training women of the villages.
What is spirulina? Spirulina is nothing but blue green algae and it dates back centuries. It is a superfood which has many health benefits. Some like it reduces the chance of having heart attacks and it gives a lot of nutrients and it is very high in antioxidants which are extremely powerful and important for our bodies. What is malnutrition? Malnutrition is when there is a lack of required nutrition in certain living beings, more critical when in children. It is when there is a lack of absorption from energetic food for children. This could lead to children/people being underweight.
The spirulina chikki is made with groundnuts, dates, cardamom powder, millet, jaggery for a natural sweetener and most importantly, spirulina. First, they put the jaggery into the water and boil it. After that they roast the groundnuts and add them to the jaggery. Then at appropriate temperatures they add the millet, cardamom powder and a few dates in. Lastly, they let the mixture cool and take its shape and there you have the super snack, the spirulina chikki!
Per 10 grams there are 65-71% of protein, 6.7% of fat, 9.3% of crude fibre, 16% of carbohydrates, 346 good calories in total and many more nutrients that will help us and our bodies for life. There is 1.76 mcg of folic acid, 97.7 mg of phosphorus and even 4.77 mg of iron! All these nutrients nourish our bodies and make us strong.
The spirulina chikki is a house production, not a factory production which means that the women from the villages create the chikkis in their own homes. The women are given proper training to make the spirulina chikkis thus empowering them.
When I heard about this project, I created a campaign called ‘Eat one Feed one’ to eliminate malnutrition in children and to help well-nourished children improve their immunity. In this campaign you get the chance to help a malnourished child since you basically buy 2 chikkis. One for yourself to savour and eat and the other for a malnourished child that you know or you could request the Spirulina Foundation to donate the other chikki to a needy child...
This campaign is not just to spread awareness but from it you can also help others in need. I am sure there are many children who are very fussy and picky eaters so if you give this to them not only will they eat something fun, but they will also gain a lot of strength, nutrients, vitamins and minerals! So, if you buy two chikkis one will be in your hands and the other will be donated to a malnourished child. This is a great concept in which the consumers like you all only have to buy the Spirulina chikki. It is also very helpful to those who cannot afford any of these things. We have also set up funds for this project and in the past year have already gotten 20,000 rupees! There are many places they are setting up and developing this spirulina chikki project. Places in states of Odisha, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. We are also working on creating a small and simple board game to help kids understand the importance of nutrition, hydration and water and fitness/exercise.
Below is a picture of a little girl before and after she had the spirulina chikki. Which led to the making of the spirulina chikki. This baby girl belongs to a border village of Bommaghatta of Sandur Taluk. The baby was 3 months old when we started giving spirulina in the year 2015.
Birth weight of the child initially was 3 kg and by the 3rd month , it had fallen to 1.5 kg , since the mother was not able to produce milk due to poverty and poor nutrition.
Baby was given bottle milk, but it was not helping and the weight kept on declining
Spirulina Foundation started giving spirulina tablets to mothers and in the next 15 days, she was able to produce enough milk once the child started getting mother’s milk , by the end of 6th month, the baby became 5.8 kg , completely healthy and back in its growth trajectory.
But for Spirulina , the rate at which the weight was declining, the baby’s life would have been in danger.
For additional information please go to this website: https://www.spirulinafoundation.com
About the author
Hi! I am Mihika, a grade 6 Cambridge learner who believes in the goodness of humanity. I am a trained singer, guitarist, and performer. I also enjoy playing sports like badminton, football and athletics and thus realise the importance of nutrition. I love discussing and writing my feelings down to project what my thoughts are. I hope to write more interesting and appealing blogs and more amazing pieces of work!