Our presence and the communities we work with

Our presence - West Bengal

Currently, Kushal's presence is in North 24 Parganas district   of West Bengal state in India. We cover 25 villages, mostly either bordering Bangladesh or on the fringes of the Sundarbans ecosphere. Ably supported by 8 grassroots organisations of the PAT network (Partners Against Trafficking), our frontline social entrepreneurs are community leaders from local women's self-help groups. Wellbeing and mental health workshops are conducted in ICDS centres, roofs and courtyards of villager's homes or local primary schools.

In 25 villages dotted across 8 blocks of North 24 Parganas, Kushal India organises pregnancy wellbeing and mental health workshops once a week. Madhabpur, one such, is a small village in the district. Most villagers here rely on cultivation and 1 in 4 women in the village cannot read or write. The nearest train station is 10 kms away. Begumpur, is also a village in North 24 Parganas district, not far from Ichamati river that borders Bangladesh. Most women in this village work as agricultural labourers.

Click to read Pravati's story as told by Pravati Roy. A respected community leader, she actively champions Kushal support for pregnancy wellbeing and mental health in her village.

Our work in these villages is driven by community spirit and led by community members.

Kushal India initiated activities in Andhra Pradesh, a southern state in India, in 2019. Market research highlighted a gap in mental health and wellbeing support services for pregnant women. The gap cuts across all demographics, irrespective of socioeconomic status. The focus on prenatal medical interventions with little or no consideration for a wholistic approach to a life changing event was also evident.

Interestingly, despite there being a significant digital gender divide, women who participated in the pilot showed their keenness  to engage with technology, and there was enthusiasm for digital tools and resources.

At the same time, the COVID-19 situation with no support for pregnant women led us to take action and focus on COVID-19 and pregnancy issues. We sources reliable outlets and developed web and audio-visual resources in Telugu with the information that was available globally. These resources were used in antenatal wellbeing sessions that were designed and conducted in hospitals and communities of Vijaywada, capital city of Andhra Pradesh.

Leveraging our initiative, partner organisation Vasavya Mahila Mandali has received a three year grant from Wipro Foundation to implement the Kushal programme in 70 Urban Health Centres in Vishakapatnam, a large and vibrant port city in Andhra Pradesh.

Curious to know what to expect when pregnant?

Our presence and the communities we work with

Kushal leverages digital technologies to enhance interpersonal solutions for better health and the emotional and psychological wellbeing of mothers-to-be. We do not hesitate to travel that extra mile to support under served young women from disadvantaged communities, and our services are delivered in local languages. Find out more about our activities.

 

Our presence and the communities we work with

 

Training frontline workers on COVID

We have been getting requests for COVID -19 Training for frontline workers nearly everyday. That is not surprising.

Pregnant women in urban slum and rural communities are facing unexpected hardship because of COVID -19. The antenatal support provided through Government of India's Janani Sishu Suraksha Karyakram programme in Andhra Pradesh has come to a standstill as Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) have had to be closed because of the COVID - 19 related lockdown.

The closure has not only meant that services such as routine checkups, educational sessions, peer support and distribution of food has been affected. It has also compounded pregnancy related anxiety. In such circumstances, front line community health workers, that is, ASHA and AWC workers who are from the communities too feel helpless and despondent that they are not able to do more.

Most of these frontline champions have been reassigned to COVID related general awareness raising duties. However, there remains a huge gap in knowledge and information in relation to pregnancy at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We keep getting requests from our frontline colleagues for information and training on pregnancy and COVID - 19. In response, we have developed a one hour training session curriculum which helps community health workers answer questions and give advice on antenatal issues in relation to COVID. The training will equip them to reach out and advice and support pregnant women with wellness and allay anxiety.

To know more about the training curriculum you can view the deck here.

Mental health support for pregnant women

We believe that every woman deserves to have choices no matter what her social or educational status.

Mental health support for pregnant women

our mission to provide pregnancy wellbeing services
We support women so that they can experience a sense of agency, joy and wellness during their pregnancy ...
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Our mission

Image showing project locations in West bengal, India
Our wellbeing workshops are facilitated in remote villages… ...
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Project locations

Pregnancy week by week guidance and support interventions.
Our week by week guidance holistically supports women with emotional and psychological wellbeing during pregnancy and addresses issues of maternal ...
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What we do

Maternal health services in India has its limitations.
Maternity is joy. However, pregnancy can come with risks ...
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Maternal health in India

our pregnancy wellbeing services address covid-19
Our sessions integrate COVID-19 awareness with pregnancy wellness ...
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Our COVID – 19 response

Kushal inspirers either live in the communities or are close to the communities in heart and spirit.
Kushal inspirers ...
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Meet the team

"Help pregnant women in India have a say"

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Aparna and her husband attended our COVID and pregnancy awareness session at a local hospital in Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh. Our pregnancy health and wellbeing services guide women on how to stay healthy and well.

Coronavirus: pregnant women urged to take extra caution by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

A comprehensive, well researched and objective article in The Hindu today outlines the advice given by ICMR to pregnant women.

The main points are –

Emerging evidence suggests that transmission of the novel coronavirus from mother to baby can take place antenataly or intrapartum. There is no evidence as yet of breast milk carrying the virus.

Pregnant women with heart disease are at greater risk of COVID-19 related complications.

Mental health issues in relation to the coronavirus is a concern. Increased anxiety and depression has been reported. Also, the incidence of domestic violence has risen.

For more information on our work in relation to COVID – 19 and pregnancy, please click here.

#coronavirus #pregnancy