Carlota Pereda '15

LET'S BE WELL 'RED'

 Let’s be Well ‘Red’ is a project producing iron-rich nutritional bars and making it available to patients with iron deficiencies, in order to reduce the high prevalence of anaemia in India: 80% of India is anaemic and 10% is thalassemic. Let's be well 'Red' was launched last summer through the Swearer International Fellowship, to spread awareness, test and treat anemic and thalassemic women in the urban slums of Mumbai. This year, with the extensive help of the C.V. Starr Fellowship, we have started producing iron-rich bars to provide an easy, affordable and tasty solution to the condition, that will reach everyone suffering from anaemia. Through this single food source, long-term recovery of the condition is much more possible, which will enable us to fulfill the iron requirement of anaemic patients. This summer, we are starting a food division of Rajdhan Institute & Trading Private Limited, and holding more awareness camps all around Mumbai, in slums, universities, schools, hospitals, to promote the nutritional bar.

Personal Statement

A couple of years ago, I was unable to walk up the stairs without panting and feeling dizzy and exhausted. I visited my doctor and I found out I had severe iron anaemia. I was treated for 20 months with iron pills, ferritin infusions and vitamin C  injections. It was a long process and it definitely shaped my life in a way that I realized how precious it was to iron in our blood in order to lead a healthy life.

Because of this, when I saw the word anaemia in a newsletter sent to me by my advisor, it stood out to me. The newsletter introduced Rajvi's project about treating anaemia in India and I immediately interested. I had had all the resources available to me and even still then, it had taken me a long to recover; in India, without resources, people were dying as a result of this condition. Talking to Rajvi Mehta was so enlightening: 80% of people in India were fainting, feeling worn out, lacking energy and were unable to carry out their work properly, if at all, because of iron anaemia. I knew and understood the situation well. So, getting involved was not even a question for me; it was more of a need and drive, and making a food bar seems like the perfect solution. The more I talked to Rajvi the more I realized the impact that we could have on the anaemic population of India. With the nutritional supplement, we could improve people’s health significantly by making iron-rich food available.

I believe that it is not only the financial endorsement of the C.V. Starr Fellowship that is going to help the social impact of the nutritional bar but it is also the personal commitment and support of the fellowship to the candidates provided that will move the project forward.