Social Changemakers and Innovators (SOCHAI)

Bonita Sharma , Nepal

Bonita Sharma founded SOCHAI to improve nutritional health for nursing mothers and young children and to economically empower marginalised women through business opportunities. Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of child mortality in Nepal, causing more than 60% of child deaths. To address this issue, SOCHAI devised the Youth For Nutrition Project which provides nutritional education to pregnant women and new mothers when they visit local health centres. SOCHAI created an innovative NutriBeads bracelet, or Poshan Maala, as an educational tool which contains a set of colourful beads with numbers. The numbers correspond to the age interval of the child, and each of the bead colours represents the specific type of food that must be included in the child’s meal. 350 mothers have benefitted from this training programme to date. The NutriBead bracelets are crafted by local artisans who are then able to benefit from the income they receive for their work. SOCHAI also conducts school-based nutritional education and empowerment for school children and adolescents to inform them about proper nutrition and transform them as leaders for community awareness and development. Through this programme 400 children have been trained and a further 50 children in disaster affected areas have been provided with hygiene kits. SOCHAI has also conducted online campaigns including a breastfeeding photography campaign reaching 25,000 people and a social media campaign for menstrual hygiene and nutrition which reached an audience of over 3,000.