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Cuddles Foundation- Fighting Malnutrition and Hunger among children fighting Cancer

Cuddles Foundation is the only NGO in India that focuses on providing holistic nutritional support to children fighting Cancer.

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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Cuddles Foundation

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small NGO (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Government Hospitals Charitable Hospitals

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

India- Various government and charitable hospitals in various location of India

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

We are citizen residents of the country selected. These geographical locations where we operate and have our presence in India are through collaboration to government hospitals or hospitals run by charitable trusts where free cancer treatment is provided to children,

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

India falls under the tropical climate zone with tropic of cancer cutting across the center of the country. The beneficiaries are the citizens of the country who are being affected by cancer at an early age and this is a kind of early childhood intervention for children suffering from cancer. These hospitals collaborated with provides free cancer treatment to the children. However, we at Cuddles believe and it has been seen that with nutritional intervention and having the right kind of meals enable the children to fight cancer better and cure themselves faster. Nutrition support and guidance enables the children to be healthy while they struggle to fight a disease like cancer, it also guides and help the parents to give the best kind of nutrient food to the children. Most of the times these nutritional interventions are within the hospital in the form of in meals and hot meals helping them fight malnourishment and be healthy and not let medication dampen their spirit.

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

• 50,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in India. Only 22% of these even make it to the hospital for treatment. • Only 2 out of 10 children survive, compared to worldwide survival rates of 8 out of 10. • 4 out of 10 children being treated lose the fight because of malnutrition. • Malnourished children are 5 times more likely to die from cancer, due to chemotherapy intolerance causing a refusal or abandonment of treatment. Hence the dire need for an organization like ours. Today we provide nutrition to more than 3000 kids every month. The hard truth • 70% of the kids seeking treatment are malnourished • 90% of the pediatric oncology patients come from a low socio economic background • 45% of these kids come from BPL parents • 60% of these kids are not from Bombay. Their parents are without any means of income so they either live on Footpaths or Sarais • Most of the days the parents go without all 3 meals and sometimes even the kids.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

We do this by partnering with hospitals that cater to underprivileged children for nutritional support during the treatment period. Our Programs 1. Nutrition Program: Nutrition Supplementation Program aims to address the problem of treatment abandonment due to malnourishment. The program focuses on: a) Nutrition Supplementation: Providing nutritional supplements such as Pediasure, Peptamen Junior, etc to children. These supplements are distributed to the patient directly by Cuddles Foundation’s nutritionists during their counseling and diet planning sessions at the hospital. b) Midday Meals: Fresh, nutritionally balanced, calorie appropriate, hot meals are provided to every kid visiting the hospital OPD for treatment. Children spend more than 8 hours at OPD while waiting for their treatment. Hence, we provide meals from a TATA approved NGO called TAMUK. The meals have been designed for children afflicted with cancer by our nutritionists. c) Ration Program includes: Aims at providing a family with monthly ration. It was noticed that due to financial constraints families who are in Mumbai for treatments are unable to provide meals for themselves and their children due to which a child is unable to maintain the daily calorie intake. Hence, the chance of abandoning the treatment increases. By providing them with monthly ration we ensure that children are also provided with wholesome meals at home. The social worker at the hospital identifies the families to whom ration packets are distributed. 2.Capacity Building at the Hospitals Addressing the problem of parent illiteracy with regards to childcare/nutrition of cancer afflicted children. We provide the hospital with nutritionists who - a) Take care of the children's nutritional requirements plus planning during the treatment. b) Counsel parents with regards to making better nutritional choices for their children. 3. Caregiver Education Program Once a month, group counseling workshops or Parent Support Group Meets (PSG Meet) are conducted at the hospitals to educate caregivers about nutrition, hygiene and also about providing the best nutrition available in their limited means. Sessions are made interesting by using various methods to impart knowledge like flipcharts, powerpoint presentation, etc.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Our Impact • Children reached: Currently we reach 3000 kids every month. Each child’s records are maintained to ensure that critical indicators like weight, mid-upper arm circumference, etc are in the prescribed ranges. *Numbers include recurring aid/counseling provided. 30% of children are unique. The treatment abandonment rates have gone down from 20% to 3.7% which can be directly attributed to nutrition at the TATA Memorial Hospital.* A study on the same has proved that Children's parents are relieved of the stress of providing nutritional intake to children while they stress about their cancer treatment. This helps the child build the immune system to fight cancer while undergoing treatment for the same and recover faster. Community Impact • Teaching a mother, uplifting a family. Mothers are empowered to take better calls for the entire family’s health and nutrition. Long term impact on the survivor's life and health. • Evangelizing importance of nutrition in cancer recovery among key stakeholders - doctors, parents, donors, corporates, the general public, government. • Networking and Advocacy of the success of the model on international platforms like SIOP Nutrition conference.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

By 2030 we wish to cater to all children undergoing cancer treatment in India. This means that any child undergoing cancer treatment shall be under our nutritional program helping them fight cancer. we do not wish to restrict our access to kinds undergoing cancer treatment but wish to provide nutritional support to children who are malnourished and are seeking any kind of treatment within these government hospitals pan India

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?


Attachments (1)

Cuddles Foundation_Introduction.pdf

Introduction to the organisation


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Photo of Jun Suto

janki pandya  What an amazing work you are doing to save young cancer patients!! Check out this Maker Therapy ( ). Studies show better compliance of kids when they are engaged in this!

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