Voices from students: On the way to ensuring nutrition in Rangpur

Nutrition is a vital concept for all and from early on the importance of nutrition should be planted into the brains of each student. The NICE project, amongst other initiatives, digs into nutrition awareness among the education sector, engaging with 40 schools in Dinajpur and Rangpur districts. Let’s explore some of the testimonies involved students from Rangpur district give…

Punom Sharma actively taking part in Nutrition Club activities from Mahigonj Girls High School and College, Rangpur.
Punom’s dream job is to become agricultural entrepreneur and nutritionist, advocating for healthier lifestyles in her community

Since the inception of the Nutrition Club in our school my journey towards understanding food and nutrition has been transformative. For example now, I consume nutritious food and ask my family members to do the same.

Punom Sharma

When visiting Punom at her school, she enthusiastically told us about the school’s nutrition club’s initiatives, specifically the nutrition garden project focusing on nutrition sensitive value chain products. Through her engagement in the school’s nutrition club, Punom has gained invaluable knowledge about healthy eating habits and the importance of safe and nutritious food. One of the most impactful experiences for her has been her involvement in the cultivation of various vegetables in the garden, such as tomatoes, chillies, and spinach through organic farming practices. Punom told us the produces were sold to the teachers and fellow students what strongly empowered her. The proceeds were then reinvested in maintaining the garden, including purchasing organic manure, tools and seedlings. This hands-on experience has not only influenced Punom’s dietary choices but has also inspired her to implement similar practices at home. Punom has adopted the habit of home gardening and vegetable cleaning before cooking. Looking ahead, Punom believes that prioritizing health through nutritious eating habits will have a profound impact on her future. The school garden has not only assisted Punom to learn about health and nutritious food but also to gain practical gardening skills.

Krishna Deb Bristy student of class 8 from Shalbon City Corporation School, Rangpur. Krishna’s dream job is to become an agriculturist.

My goal is to ensure that safe and nutritious food is accessible to all members of our community. Through my dedication to food, nutrition and agriculture, I aim to contribute positively to addressing food-related challenges and promoting healthier living conditions.

Krishna Deb Bristy

Krishna is an active student at Shalbon City Corporation School, involved in the early formation of a Nutrition Club at her school and working in the nutrition initiatives the school offers. The school’s nutrition initiatives particularly focus on promoting nutritious food, what mainly means incorporation of healthy vegetables into the diet. Also at home, Krishna has established a small garden where the family cultivates brinjal, tomato, coriander, and papaya plants. Krishna is committed to learning everything she can from the Nutrition Club program and sharing that knowledge within her community. Krishna also emphasizes on the importance of good hygiene practices within her household, understanding that nutritious food goes hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle. Thus, Krishna’s daily routine includes tending to her garden diligently and ensuring that plants receive the care they need to flourish. Her aspirations extend to become an agriculturist dedicated to combating food insecurity in her future.

Mst Khadiza Akhter, student of class 10 at Rangpur Polytechnic High School, Rangpur. Mst Khadiza ‘s dream job is to become a Plant Doctor.

Witnessing the positive impact of healthy eating on my family’s well-being was enlightening. NICE nutrition club has helped me learn gardening skills, create nutrition awareness and assisted to my father’s health.

Mst Khadiza Akhter

In February 2023, during the inception of NICE project’s Nutrition Garden at Rangpur Polytechnic High School, Khadiza gained a profound understanding of the significance of health and consumption of nutritious food through gardening. Previously, her father, a day laborer, frequently fell ill due to consuming unhygienic food. However, since, inspired by Khadiza’s aspired knowledge, the family shifted to providing him with homemade meals comprising rice, vegetables, and vegetable hotchpotch, his health has significantly improved. Through this experience, Khadiza learned about the importance of safe and nutritious vegetables and proper dietary practices. Her aspiration to become a plant doctor stem from witnessing plants suffering from diseases that often go unrecognized. Khadiza is determined to protect them and to ensure their well-being. The NICE project has been instrumental in broadening her understanding of health, hygiene, and nutrition. And Khadiza was empowered to  share these insights with her parents, emphasizing the significance of safe food and food safety practices. For instance, Khadiza’s family now diligently covers food to prevent contamination and spoilage. The NICE supported school nutrition garden has truly been an eye-opener for Khadiza and her family, empowering her with knowledge and skills that she aims to apply in her future endeavors.

Through initiatives like these, we can cultivate a generation of informed individuals who prioritize their well-being and contribute to a healthier society. Punom, Krishna and Khadiza are among hundreds of students who prioritize health and have seen a transformative change after nutrition awareness.