CHANGE leaders do great things, and often that is all we know about them. Here we want to get a different glimpse of the personalities that constitute the development space. Every month we get one leader to answer four questions, not necessarily about their work, but about themselves. This week we catch up with Samir Chaudhuri, founder of Child In Need Institute.
Working as a paediatrician specialising in child nutrition, Dr. Samir Chaudhuri closely examined how malnutrition is related to the nourishment the child and mother receive during the gestation period and the first two years after the child is born. The need to take action sparked the birth of Child In Need Institute in 1974 to tackle malnutrition by addressing the root causes such as poverty, gender inequality, neglect of women’s health during pregnancy and sanitation practices.
Small Change: Describe your epiphany or the Eureka moment that led you to start CINI
Samir Chaudhuri: It was the realisation that a child can’t be rehabilitated by only administering medicine. That’s what many doctors do. We keep pumping medicine without giving the necessary food or nourishment to the child and the mother. My Eureka moment was when I saw how important it is to ensure the child and mother receive proper nourishment along with medicine for the child to bloom.
SC: What do you love about the work you do?
Samir: The happiness I see on the mothers’ faces when their malnourished children are treated. It’s wonderful to know that we were able to change someone’s life for the better. For instance, 14 years ago a woman walked into our centre with her severely malnourished boy who was almost close to death. Now as a grown up, he has got in touch with us to thank us. He is currently working as a chef in Florida. That’s a great feeling!
SC: What is that one thing that you are bad at?
Samir: I’m bad at beating around the bush. I talk bluntly. Many people don’t like it when the truth is told bluntly.
SC: You have been forced to eat only four things for the rest of your life. Which four items would you choose?
Samir: Dal, rice, fish and vegetables. And definitely some sweets!
Child In Need Institute are currently running a fundraiser for toiletries, blankets and stationery for the urgent care of 100 such children. Check it out here.