Purnota Dutta Bahl of Cuddles Foundation provides nutrition to children undergoing cancer treatment. Being based in India, Purnota explained the barriers of cancer treatment for children within the country. Malnourishment is one of those barriers slimming the odds of proper treatment. Malnourished children can experience disruptive side effects during chemotherapy, and drop out of treatment. The organization believes “every child deserves a chance at cure”, and is determined to protect the probability of recovery.
Cuddles Foundation does not focus solely on giving food to children. Purnota explained the initiative educated parents/ guardians, wrote nutrition prescriptions, sent nutritional baskets worth one month of nutrition, and educated nutritionists across the country in the science of pediatric oncology nutrition. Everything is done to ensure a better condition for undergoing cancer treatment.
From the start, the initiative was intentional in purpose, and “let’s see how this goes” in actions. She has an instinct of treating the initiative like a startup. For example, Purnota recounted how she found herself at an opportunity with only ten days to register proper paperwork for Cuddles Foundation. The social enterprise benefited from her tendency to not waste a chance, and her skill of recognizing when to “push the panel harder”.
As the organization developed, there was a need to create awareness around the specific cause of the initiative. In this case, the cause is “how important nutrition is in cancer treatment”. Rallying support produced a challenge at times, but Purnota made a point of succinct advocacy and meeting the right people at the right time. Following this lesson came a lesson many social enterprises face, which is forming a qualified team.
Purnota expressed the gap between not having funds to pay the same rates corporations offer and a hiring qualified, cutting edge team. Her solution was to build a small core team. The core team of qualified individuals led to high performance and exponential results. Of course, we imagine this outcome not developing linearly, but unfolding ultimately. She summed up the key combination of securing a strong core team that has better potential to scale:
“… bring the people in, then you make sure that they feel fulfilled, that the work is such good quality, that they themselves will bring in money and they themselves will bring in people.”— Purnota Bahl
Purnota dug further into this topic on which individuals to engage if you want to produce these kinds of cooperative relationships. Most of the interaction is helping people know that they have a stake in the action, empowerment, and value.
Cuddles Foundation approaches their operations by providing value from multiple sides and embraces mindset shifts. Purnota explained the future projects and goals the Cuddles Foundation is pursuing, including technology. She then explained past mindsets, even mentioning the beneficial e-commerce habit the Cuddles Foundation adopted. The organization is showing everyone how nutrition is an undeniable root cause in health treatment and needs an all-around approach.