This morning I arrived at the Contact Center to find it was the one day each month when the students have their BMI measured. What luck! Every month, each student is carefully measured and weighed, and then their BMI is calculated and recorded. If a student falls below the minimum BMI expected for their age, their diet at the Contact Center is adjusted to help bring them up to a normal weight for their age and height.
Malnutrition is an issue for many of the students at the Contact Center, but the Contact Center staff has several approaches to help. Breakfast and lunch are prepared each school day by a wonderful staff cook. After traveling for a month in Nepal and eating a lot of dal bhat (rice and lentil soup), I can attest to the fact that the typical Nepali diet is very heavy on carbohydrates. But growing kids need protein, so every meal at the Contact Center is high in protein, and students are given supplements if necessary. On our home visits yesterday, Sarita documented the state of the kitchen in each household so if a particular child has a low BMI, the staff at the Contact Center can identify and hopefully solve the root causes.
And the nurse who's carefully measuring each child? Her name is Anita, and she is a Mitrata graduate herself! She received support from Mitrata throughout her education including a scholarship to attend nursing school, and now she's been a nurse at a hospital in Kathmandu for nearly two years. Today, she came to the Contact Center following a thirteen-hour night shift to volunteer her time recording BMIs. I think it speaks incredibly highly of the work being done beginning at the Contact Center and in the other school and boarding programs, that former students find ways to stay involved -- just another example of the long-term impact of the Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children!