An Overview of Project Nai Disha in Delhi, India

Namaste!

I’m Amanda, a freshman majoring in Neuroscience. I’m Hardik, 2nd year Grad student majoring in Computer Science. And I’m Amitha, a junior majoring in Global Health. We are volunteering together with South Asian Rural Student Aid (SARSA), a non-profit organization on campus to teach at the Nai Disha Learning Center in Delhi, India. The Nai Disha Learning Center is a subsidized school for children from low income families, who would otherwise not have the opportunity to receive an education.

While we are working with the students at Nai Disha, we will have the chance to better understand health care in India from many different perspectives and to spread awareness of health issues that are often overlooked in India.

Amanda is interested specifically in learning about the psychological health and development of the students and what psychological stresses are present that can possibly be adjusted for improving the children’s learning capacity. She will be teaching the children proactive measures for healthy psychological development and emotional well-being and also implementing self-reflection exercises to encourage students to integrate the lessons and set action plans to incorporate healthy psychological behaviors in their lifestyles. Student-produced photography that reflects self-concept traits will be collected and analyzed in order to assess personality and to determine the positive and negative psychological influences on the students.

Hardik is interested in looking into issues of obesity and malnutrition; he will be focusing on creating a photo-essay. The photo-essay will focus on how fast food has taken over most of the food that is offered in Universities and schools in USA. It will take examples from schools in India, especially how they focus on what is good to eat and what is not. Further, it will try to establish the need for early education on nutritious food, so that root causes of obesity and malnutrition can be eradicated.

Amitha is interested in understanding how theater can be used to teach health topics, especially to students that are difficult to communicate with because of language barriers. Using material from the Public Health Foundation of India, she will have student learn about healthy foods, the importance of physical exercise, and tobacco avoidance. She will have students draw lunchboxes with what they think is a healthy meal and evaluate these drawings over multiple days for effects of the lessons. For physical exercise, she will use theater games that involve body movement and special awareness. For tobacco avoidance, students will learn basic principles and put together a brief presentation that they will perform at the parent teacher conference. All of these activities will be recorded.

We hope you are as excited as we are about our project!

Until next time,

Amanda, Hardik, & Amitha

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