IMPACT

These Bindis Could Help Save The Lives Of Impoverished Indian Women

06/15/2015 04:44 pm ET | Updated Jun 15, 2015

This health solution is spot on.

An estimated 350 million people in India don’t consume enough iodine, a deficiency that can lead to brain damage, among other health issues, and is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, according to a study published by the Indian Journal of Medical Research. Since supplements are often cost-prohibitive, a marketing group developed a way for poor women to ingest iodine through a religious symbol they wear daily.

In Hindu culture, wives publicize their marital status by wearing a red bindi, or dot, in the middle of their foreheads. Capitalizing on this widespread custom, Grey for Good -- Grey Group’s philanthropic arm –- developed a bindi that enables women to absorb their daily iodine requirements, The Times of India reported.

The women just have to wear the Jeevan Bindi, or "lifesaving dot," for eight hours a day to get 100 to 150 micrograms a day.

To develop an effective distribution system, the marketing group partnered with Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Center, a nonprofit that works with underserved rural and tribal communities in India. The organization identified groups in need, and doled out lifesaving dots throughout medical camps across rural India, according to a video released by Grey Group.

So far, the campaign has reached more than 30,000 women in about 100 villages, according to NPR.

While some are concerned that the iodine may not remain on the dots, and that harsh conditions could impact its effectiveness, experts say that the amplified awareness surrounding the issue alone is invaluable, NPR reported.

“In a nation of 500 million women, bindis were no longer just a symbol of beauty,” Grey Group noted in the video, “they now spelled the difference between life and death.”

To take action on pressing health issues, check out the Global Citizen's widget below.

  • 1 Ved Vyasa (The Bhagavad Gita)
    Painting: Ramanarayanadatta astri (Gorakhpur Geeta Press)
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    Chanakya
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    The Tree Of Wisdom
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    Prajñadanda (The Staff of Wisdom)
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    There is pleasure when a sore is scratched, But to be without sores is more pleasurable still. Just so, there are pleasures in worldly desires, But to be without desires is more pleasurable still.
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    Painting: Bodhidharma, by Yoshitoshi, 1887.
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    “Those who worship don't know, and those who know don't worship.”
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    The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma
    “To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss.”
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    When your last breath arrives, Grammar can do nothing.
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    The Soul appears to be finite because of ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed the Self which does not admit of any multiplicity truly reveals itself by itself: like the Sun when the clouds pass away.
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    Just as the fire is the direct cause for cooking, so without Knowledge no emancipation can be had. Compared with all other forms of discipline Knowledge of the Self is the one direct means for liberation.
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    "Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. My shoulder is against yours. you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals: not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables. When you really look for me, you will see me instantly — you will find me in the tiniest house of time. Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath."
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    The Bijak of Kabir
    Many have died; you also will die. The drum of death is being beaten. The world has fallen in love with a dream. Only sayings of the wise will remain.
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    Kabir, 1440. Photo: Government Of India
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    The river that flows in you also flows in me.
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    Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
    One man may read the Bhagavata by the light of a lamp, and another may commit a forgery by that very light; but the lamp is unaffected. The sun sheds its light on the wicked as well as on the virtuous.
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    Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
    As long as I live, so long do I learn.
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    Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
    Bondage and Liberation are of the mind alone.
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    Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
    Different creeds are but different paths to reach the same God.
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    Swami Vivekananda
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    Swami Vivekananda
    In a conflict between the heart and the brain, follow your heart.
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    Swami Vivekananda
    In a day, when you don't come across any problems - you can be sure that you are travelling in a wrong path
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    Swami Vivekananda
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    Sri Aurobindo
    True knowledge is not attained by thinking. It is what you are; it is what you become.
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    Sri Aurobindo
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