On the morning of October 16th, a special annual excursion event for the children took place. We all travelled by bus to the zoo in Patna, which is 35km from their village. The visit took three hours and a parent and a community volunteer also accompanied us. This was the first visit to the zoo for the children and they enjoyed it very much and would have liked the whole trip to have been spread over two days.
The day continued with the children attending an annual advocacy meeting in Patna, to listen to children’s rights activists and child protection social workers. The children were encouraged to ask questions and were particularly keen to ensure that they receive a good standard of education in government schools. They asked for less school closures and increased attendance/participation by teachers, as they felt that their teachers were often called upon to do work for the government instead of teaching them. In November we will feed this information back to the schools.
After some lunch, the children took part in a health check up camp for 1.5 hours, organised by the Rotary Club of Chanakya. In the presence of a doctor and nurse, each child was examined one by one. There were no major issues with the children’s health but a few had dental problems. This was followed by a discussion about the importance of eating seasonal fruit and vegetables. The importance of milk in the diet was also highlighted with free packets of Horlicks, vitamins and mineral supplements distributed to the children to take home. This was monitored by the community volunteer, who also gave further information and advice to the parents and local doctors following the trip.