How listening to a child can heal more than talking to them.

Story of how a 7-year-old Ikara is healing because of a kind and considerate Nutritionist.

When Khadija, our Nutritionist at Wadia Hospital, Mumbai, met 7-year-old Ikara Naushin Khan, she was extremely withdrawn and malnourished. Ikara comes from an impoverished family, and being diagnosed right in the middle of the lockdown worsened the financial strain. “We were anxious and confused when Ikara was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia (ALL). Our two other children are extremely healthy, and we had very little knowledge of this disease,” says Ikara’s father, who works as a daily wage labourer.

He adds, “Khadija’s intervention into Ikara’s treatment was much needed. Cuddles Supplements, In-Meal Program, and the Ration Kit was the kind of help that we did not know Ikara needed. Khadija guided us about Ikara’s nutritional requirements. It has helped her recover from the infections caused by chemotherapy and helped her grow stronger.”

Ikara has been steadily putting on weight because of Khadija’s expertise and her ability to reach out to Ikara whenever needed.

Khadija says, “Ikara comes from a family with low socioeconomic status, and hence I had to reinforce the importance of nutrition in her treatment constantly. I think it is important to be with the child and the family without overwhelming them. The kind of counselling that is based on a two-way conversation has more positive outcomes. I encouraged Ikara to express how she was feeling so I could address the gaps.” Khadija also relies heavily on listening, to draw insights into which kind of food will work best for the child based on their history and food preferences. “Once Ikara opened up to me, I was able to work on the diet with her, and that made all the difference. Now the diet feels like food that she enjoys and not just a prescribed treatment,” she adds.

Ikara is on her way to recovery, and she looks forward to going back to school and nurture her love for poems. Thanks to your constant support, Ikara has a chance at growing up to be a kind teacher and enrich someone else’s life. You give us the courage to keep going.

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About Shreya Gupta

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