Before Chhimeki was established, the Urban Nutrition Project (UNP) of Terre des hommes Foundation (Tdh) was implemented through a local NGO called Sagun. With the active support of Terre des hommes the project significantly grew over the years in terms of capacity and reach, with a geographical expansion into 11 wards across Kathmandu Metropolitan City, a growing numbers of volunteers, the hiring of additional staff and improved community participation. During the phased out period, Sagun, Tdh and trained volunteers decided to continue the great work Sagun was doing by establishing Chhimeki. From 2001 to 2004 volunteers were trained through Sagun but after the establishment of Chhimeki in December 2004, volunteers were continuously trained through Chhimeki.
In 2003 volunteers formed informal saving groups in their communities for taking small loans, with the technical support of the organization. Volunteers come together every last Saturday of Nepali month where they deposit some amount of money, share stories and encourage each other. Women in the saving groups are encouraged to be involved in income generation activities to strengthen their social status within their communities. The continuation of savings groups has helped the mothers and volunteers gain easy access to finance when they need small investments for starting out small shops, businesses and income generation activities.
The two major earthquakes in Nepal on 25 April and 12 May 2015 resulted in huge losses of life and property in Nepal. The capital Kathmandu and its surroundings was one of the most affected areas. Immediately after the first earthquake Chhimeki mobilized its volunteers in the field. Chhimeki was instrumental in distributing relief material and monitoring poor families from the inner city areas of KMC. With the support from well-wishers abroad Chhimeki distributed food to 869 families, hygiene kits to 752 families, solar lamps to 175 families, ceramic filters to 150 families and clothes to 21 families.
The organization established Chhimeki Multipurpose Cottage industry in May 2010. Chhimeki Sarbottam Pitho Plus (SP+) is a mix of roasted maize, soya beans and wheat that is fortified with Vitamin A, Iron and Folic Acid. SP+ is a highly nutritious food, especially for young children. Studies have shown that micronutrient rich food can have a significant impact on infant mortality. SP+ is produced by Chhimeki volunteers who also sell SP+ to local families in their respective communities. This activity provides the opportunity for volunteers to learn new skills as well as a way to make money, receiving a small commission for every packet sold.
Every first week of Nepali month, volunteers across all 11 wards volunteers conduct growth monitoring in their community. Parents bring their children under 3 years of age to be weighed and measured. They are also sensitized on their child’s growth in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) standards. The project provides an opportunity to build skills, develop positive attitudes and promote best child rearing practices amongst community members. As a result there has been an increase in awareness and an improvement in the lives of our target groups. 66,940 children have already taken our services since inception till the year 2015. Currently on an average 1200 children are taking our services monthly.