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In India, Traditional Baby Shower Educates Young, Pregnant Women

March 15, 2013

Leon Kaye traveled to India in 2013 with the International Reporting Project. He is the founder and editor of, where this post originally appeared. 

On Monday I visited Holumbi Khurd, a colony outside of New Delhi, India. On the edge of India’s agricultural riches and in the shadows of a new industrial complex in North Delhi, many of Holumbi Khurd’s residents were relocated here from other urban slums slated for demolition. Life for everyone is rough to say the least, including for women and children.

Prenatal health and childhood nutrition are key issues in this district, and NGOs such as Child Survival India have an uphill battle to prevent early child deaths. One way in which Child Survival India’s staff educates young pregnant women is by leveraging the “Godh Bharai,” a traditional baby shower ceremony. Such tactics are a way to build trust without appearing to be didactic lectures from yet another pushy group of outsiders.

During our brief visit, three young pregnant women received a bevy of gifts from their neighbors. Included in the gifts were nutritious foods such as legumes, dark leafy greens and certain fruits, each of which a peer introduced to the women with lessons on why these foods were important. Our visit was brief, but I was able to film a short bit on my iPhone while they broke out in song. The women, of course, looked beautiful.

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