17 million children. That’s how many received treatment for parasitic worms in Bihar, India last year with the assistance of Deworm the World. Big numbers such as these can make it easy to forget the individuals behind them, which is why its important that we keep in mind the difference this simple intervention can make.
Rinki is an 11-year-old girl from a poor family. She lives in a small village in Bihar and attends the local school. However, with lower social standing than some of her classmates, she has a hard time envisioning her own prospects. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, “I can’t become anything” was Rinki’s response. She regularly felt sick, but her parents did not have the means to take her to the doctor. In fact, most children with parasitic worms go untreated, as worms are perceived to be a regular part of childhood in many areas.
Rinki received deworming medication in early 2011 through the Bihar Mass School-Based Deworming Program, by attending one of the 67,000 schools reached by the joint efforts of the Bihar Departments of Education and Health in collaboration with Deworm the World. Upon attending Deworming Day, Rinki immediately felt better and was renewed with energy. Her improved health will hopefully allow her to spend more time in school, providing increased opportunity to aspire about her future. Research on deworming has shown that children who receive regular treatment have improved outcomes across a number of areas, including self-reported health, education, and productivity.
That’s what deworming programs are about – a simple, low-cost means of providing such opportunities to children who in many cases wouldn’t otherwise receive it. Teachers see the immediate benefits with some children more regularly attending school. Governments such as Bihar already recognize the benefits and are pitching in resources to help make this happen. But we need a little boost – only $0.02 per child – to ensure that Rinki and millions of others like her can continue to be free of worms each year. Please help us achieve this impact by making a donation, and encouraging your loved ones to do the same.
Sriram Raghavan is CEO of InKlude Labs, which is dedicated to scaling proven social interventions. The InKlude Labs-affiliated Action Foundation for Social Services implements Deworm the World’s programs in India. Sriram was named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010.
Photo Credit: Esther Havens