At seventeen years of age, Jennifer is a young, vibrant, ambitious young girl living in Mangolpuri, Delhi. When she was sixteen – she was suffering from anaemia.
Jennifer lives with her parents, four sisters and one brother in Delhi. Her father works as a tailor while her mother is a housewife. She tells us, her favourite subject is history and she likes listening to music, hanging out with her friends and spending time at the Health Information Clinic (HIC) run by Plan India in her community under the Young Health Programme (YHP).
Initially, she was a shy unambitious girl, afraid and scared to talk to others and did not give much thought to her health, particularly, her eating habits. Then one day, she heard about the HIC from a friend. Jennifer learned about the training’s provided at the centre, along with information on health, cleanliness, etc. Hearing about this got her excited and so she joined the HIC. While there, she attended peer educator training, poster making classes, took part in anti-tobacco rallies and other engaging activities. But all was not well.
Jennifer was suffering from health issues. She used to eat 1-2 rotis (homemade bread) a day without any meals in between. She was later diagnosed with anaemia (a low amount of red blood cells in the body) and became weak, barely being able to leave her home or go to school. Lonely and struggling to come to terms with her ailment, Jennifer was beginning to become isolated from the outside world. She stopped attending the YHP and very rarely would meet her friends. Her parents and siblings were growing more and more concerned about her as the days went by.
It was her association with YHP that helped her fight back against her illness.
When the YHP staff heard about Jennifer’s condition, they immediately intervened and had her admitted to a hospital. On admission, she underwent a blood transfusion operation. The operation successful and over time, Jennifer was able to regain her health and get back to full fitness.
For a young girl like Jennifer to go through such an ordeal was certainly scary. This experience not only made her healthier but braver. She continues to visit the HIC regularly and take part in the various activities. She even shares all her knowledge with her family and friends and has encouraged her sisters to join the YHP as well.
Speaking about her ambitions, Jennifer says she would like to be a teacher one day and with the support of her family, she will definitely succeed in her ambitions. She tells us, “I never really cared about my health earlier. But since then, I have become more aware. Even my mother is more conscious about mine and my whole family’s health and well-being now”.