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Adventures for the Mind Foundation Awards Grant to Broadleaf

Broadleaf Health and Education Alliance was awarded a grant by the Adventures for the Mind Foundation to support and expand on their work with girls in the Darjeeling Hills.

Broadleaf Health and Education was recently awarded a grant by the Adventures For the Mind Foundation, which is part of the Belizean Grove. This generous gift was granted to support the work and expansion of the Comprehensive Health and Hygiene Improvement Program (CHHIP), specifically, as it relates to the work that Broadleaf does to help and empower girls in our communities and schools. 

Women and girls in the Darjeeling region are disproportionately affected by the challenges that exist in the communities that we work in. According to India’s 2015-16 National Family Health Survey, roughly 49% of women in rural Darjeeling are anemic, compared to 14.4% of men. Due to malnutrition, 25% of all children in the region are underweight for their age—but nearly 18% of females remain underweight in adulthood, compared to 9% of males.

Girls also face disparities in access to professional health services: one study found that boys in rural West Bengal (the Indian state where Darjeeling is located) were nearly five times more likely than girls to be taken by their families for early medical care for common childhood conditions like diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, and fever. These disparities contribute to lower educational attainment for girls and women. Overall attendance rates for boys and girls in primary schools in rural India are estimated at 85% for boys and 81% for girls, yet by the time children reach secondary school, attendance rates average only 48% for girls compared to 62% for boys.3 The literacy rate for women in the region is 72% compared to 92% for men, and only 23% of women have ten or more years of education. In adulthood, data from India’s 2005-06 National Family Health Survey show that only 35% of women in West Bengal had been employed in the past 12 months, with only 9% employed in professional, technical, or managerial occupations. These inequalities are perpetuated by social norms that continue to elevate men over women, and the health and education of boys above that of girls. 

CHHIP’s health and personal development curriculum and health services are powerful tools for reducing the social and educational disparities faced by girls in rural India. Better health and sanitation practices improve girls’ school attendance and subsequent economic prospects. Additionally, CHHIP’s health curriculum improves the learning environment by reducing bullying and corporal punishment while promoting physical and mental health. These activities challenge norms of gender inequality by empowering girls to succeed in the classroom and encouraging boys to see their female classmates as valuable contributors to school and community.

The Belizean Grove Adventures for the Minds Foundation is a global group of influential women who are key decision makers spread out numerous industries and sectors.  The purpose of the Grove is to "bring members together to provide insights and better understanding of the complex issues the world is facing and to share expertise in looking for solutions and contributions we can make both as individuals and as “Community of Trust”.

The Belizean Grove achieves its purpose by engaging in educational programs, mentoring programs for rising stars and giving back to our communities in the U.S. and countries we visit through vision, value and resources."

We look forward to reporting on our progress as it relates to the girls in our communities over the next year. 

Sources for statistics and additional reading:

  1. Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (2016). District Fact Sheet: Darjiling, West Bengal. Mumbai. Retrieved from 
  2. Pandey, A., Sengupta, P., Mondal, S., Gupta, D., Manna, B., & Ghosh, S. (2002). Gender differences in healthcare-seeking during common illnesses in a rural community of West Bengal, India. Journal Of Health, Population And Nutrition, 20, 306-311.
  3. Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (2006). Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in India. Mumbai. Retrieved from
  4. Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,. (2016). District Fact Sheet: Darjiling, West Bengal. Mumbai. Retrieved from 
  5. Fikree, F. & Pasha, O. (2004). Role of Gender in Health Disparity: the South Asian Context. BMJ, 328(7443), 823-826. 


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