Odisha Minister Launches ‘Vatsalya’, A Campaign On Children’s Stimulation

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Bhubaneswar: Women and Child Development (W&CD) and Mission Shakti Minister Tukuni Sahu on Tuesday launched ‘Vatsalya’, a campaign to institutionalise care and stimulation of children under three years of age.

The minister also released ‘Kuni Calendar’ and ‘Responsive Parenting’ posters in 11 mother tongues, Parents+ module in Odia, flip book on happy parenting and videos on Vatsalya & Tiki Mausi on early stimulation, according to a press release of the W&CD department.

Speaking on the occasion, UNICEF Country Representative Dr Yasmin Ali Haque said for every Re 1 invested in a child in early years ensures a return worth Rs 13 and the productivity of the child increases by 25% when he grows up.

STSCRTI Director Dr A. B. Ota spoke on learning continuity in indigenous community through parental involvement and volunteered to support the Department in translation of materials in tribal language.

Ms Rushda Majeed, Country Representative, BvLF and Dr Anubha Rajesh, Chair Professor, CECDR, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi presented how MTELP+, a multilingual ECD intervention has improved early learnings and induced positive engagement of parents in tribal areas of the state.

Secretary, W&CD and Mission Shakti Anu Garg said the highest rate of return in early childhood development comes from investing as early as possible, from birth through age five. Starting at age three or four will be too little too late as it fails to recognise that skills beget skills. This programme may not yield immediate results but could emerge as a game changer in the long run, she added.

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