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In Loving Memory of Sanchita Banerjee (1959-2022), NNEdPro Principal Project Officer in India

A Message of Gratitude to Sanchita from the NNEdPro Chair

2022 started off for us on a very sad note as our principal project officer for India and dear colleague, Sanchita Banerjee, passed away on 3rd January at the age of just 62 whilst battling COVID19 complications in hospital - our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt condolences go to her family members – many of us were lucky enough to attend a meeting convened by Sanchita just before Christmas where she beautifully summarised all the work undertaken in India over last year and thanked each one of us personally for our contributions and we were able to thank her as well expressing our heartfelt appreciation. Little did we know at that time that this would be an untimely and unexpected farewell, but we are so grateful that we could express our gratitude and appreciation to Sanchita directly in this meeting.

Sanchita first came to us through our Kolkata workshop in Autumn of 2017 where the Mobile Teaching Kitchen (MTK) intervention was designed. After several collaborative exchanges and dialogue with Dr Minha, our medical director, 18 months later she joined NNEdPro formally and served for almost 3 amazing years as our lynchpin for the MTK in India as well as the deputy lead of our India Regional Network. Sanchita worked tirelessly with unparalleled dedication as well as earning the respect and friendship of one and all for the innumerable contributions she made as well as the inspiration she provided to us all. She was a great believer in the mission and vision of NNEdPro at large and was one of the most regular attendees at all our webinars, always contributing to the discussion. There are so many more ways in which Sanchita managed to touch the lives of all those who knew her and indirectly impacted everyone associated with NNEdPro by taking the original MTK model to new heights.

We pray that the lovely soul that we have known as Sanchita finds peace and that her memory can live on through the legacy of her work. We have decided to dedicate our MTK fundraiser and awareness event, The Confluence (February 2022) to pay a small tribute to the life and work of Sanchita and we will initiate a memorial award scheme in her honour this year.

A natural collaborative networker, Sanchita took great pleasure in driving high-quality work with careful attention to achieving a positive impact on beneficiaries, along every step of the way. In this piece my colleagues have compiled a snapshot of her contributions over the past year alone, followed by heartfelt messages of support from across the NNEdPro community.

- Prof Shumone Ray

A lookback on NNEdPro work led in India by Sanchita over 2021

In the first quarter, Sanchita worked to initiate the ‘Bhavishya Shakti’ Base Kitchen at Lake Town. This project involved partnership between NNEdPro and local charities. The project team included health professionals and local community volunteers trained in basic nutritional concepts. She was involved in the customisation of Mobile Teaching Kitchen (MTK) menu templates and conducted door-to-door surveys to increase the reach of the base kitchen, as well as running a Nutritional Awareness campaign for the employees of local offices and conducted Bank visits for marketing of food delivery services from the Bhavishya Shakti Base kitchen.

Over the second quarter of the year as fieldwork was still quiescent due to pandemic measures, Sanchita conducted a nutrition practices survey among doctors and dietitians for the health and life insurance sector giving us new insights into nutrition education needs in India based health systems. Subsequently, as fieldwork reopened, she and the NNEdPro India team rapidly re-launched the MTK van in Lake Town whilst also arranging and honour the MTK champions in their roles as working mothers. Also, as part of combatting the COVID-19 situation in Kolkata at the time, Sanchita had key involvement with an impactful NNEdPro led and crowdsourced free meal distribution scheme for COVID-19 patients facing food and nutrition insecurity during isolation in the community which served well over a thousand families.

July marked the commencement of our role in a Global Research Translation Award (GRTA), led by the University of East Anglia, tackling health, nutrition, education, and environment issues in India. As part of the GRTA, Sanchita worked alongside the NGO ‘PRADAN’ team to create a list of menus ready for nutritional analysis providing rapid and novel dietary insights into a marginalised tribal population. Alongside this project, Sanchita contributed towards and co-ordinated the development of the Creative Communication, Extension & Resource Management for Sustainable Development course at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for learners across India. This course aimed to teach others about creative extension approaches and communication strategies to address the wellbeing and empowerment of rural and urban communities, especially women and children, by producing and exchanging relevant contextual knowledge and practices. By September, the meals served from the Bhavishya Shakti Base Kitchen hit the highest level of sales recorded throughout the year bringing precious microenterprise income to the MTK champions.

During the months of October to December, the MTK van once began operating at one of the Bagbazar slums being served by Calcutta Rescue (CR) and the RG Kar slum, the origins of the entire MTK initiative. Sanchita was involved with a plethora of CR field visits and staff training sessions. On November 14th Sanchita organised Children’s Day celebrations to increase awareness about the rights, education, and welfare of children, especially in the urban slums. In December, Sanchita finalised the development of daily menu templates for the ongoing GRTA project in readiness for a new recipe book based on previously little-known tribal diets of northern and eastern India. At the end of December 2021 Sanchita orchestrated a collective celebration of the year’s achievements by NNEdPro members and collaborators, made possible by her unparalleled dedication to service above self.

With Special Thanks to Sanchita for the Brightest Feathers in the MTK Cap

Sanchita had been the bedrock behind many achievements across borders. In the UK these included the launch of the MTK Cookbook at the 2021 University of Cambridge Festival with online cooking demonstrations as well as the promulgation of recipes from the MTK to culinary students at Westminster Kingsway College in London and the Cambridge Vice Chancellor’s Award for Research Impact and Collaboration alongside collaborators of the UK-India ‘TIGR2ESS’ programme. Over the latter part of 2021 the MTK also underwent successful adaptation and first phase implementation in Mexico City led by Tec de Monterrey and taking inspiration from the wonderful work of Sanchita and the NNEdPro India team.

- Compiled from Sanchita Banerjee’s Presentation to the NNEdPro Global Centre (December 2021) by Sarah Armes and Matheus Abrantes (Edited by Prof Shumone Ray)

Key Messages from the NNEdPro Virtual Core

My thoughts and deepest condolences are with all the family and friends of Sanchita. She was such an inspiration to all Remembered with fondness and humility – Pauline Douglas

May the universe grant eternal peace for Mrs Sanchita Banerjee. May we all remember her contributions to the MTK Initiative, Bhavishya Shakti and her spirit of sincerity in all she did over her lifetime in social work and development. May her family, friends and colleagues receive comfort and strength to be there for each other at this time of challenge – Dr Minha Rajput Ray

So sad to hear this news, thinking of her family, friends, and colleagues we will all sorely miss her enthusiasm and kindness! – Dr Luke Buckner

It is extremely sad and very hard to believe this. All my prayers and strength to her family, friends, and all of us who worked closely with her. May her soul Rest in Peace. Will miss you always!! – Sucheta Mitra

Messages from NNEdPro Global Connections

I am so sorry that is devastating, she was such an incredibly beautiful human being, may she RIP and live on through MTK – Ananya (Ria) Roy

I am so incredibly sad to hear this news. What an inspirational person. I’m so sorry for her family and close friends. I hope her memory can provide so comfort. Rest in peace. – Dr Harrison Carter

I am so sorry to hear this heart-breaking news :( I will miss her a lot and her kind and passionate spirit. Thinking of her family, friends, and colleagues – Jorgen Johnsen

Heart-breaking news. My sincere condolences to Sanchita’ s family & friends. May her soul rest in peace, she will be greatly missed – Wanja Nyaga

Her kindness, enthusiasm and good heart will be deeply missed. May her soul Rest in Peace – Matheus Abrantes

Our community has lost a truly special and wonderful human being. Although I did not have the good fortune to meet Ms Banerjee in person, we worked together across continents during the early years of the Mobile Teaching Kitchen project. It was an absolute pleasure working with her and learning from her. The ease, patience, dedication with which she managed correspondence across time zones while coordinating the front on the ground is a quality that I hope to instil in myself. I am thankful that I got to know you albeit briefly and I will always remember you with fondness. My good wishes, strength, and condolences to the Banerjee family. Our NNEdPro family has truly lost a very special person. I will miss you – Dr Shivani Bhat

NNEdPro (India and South-Asia Regional Network) National and International Collaborators

Very saddened to hear the terribly shocking news of Sanchita’ s passing away. She was a very kind, helpful and hard-working lady. I think she visited SANGHOL twice and trained many, with NNEdPro cooking programmes. My heartfelt condolences to all affected by this tragedy May her soul rest in peace in the heavenly abode – Lord Diljit Rana

The news of unfortunate and untimely demise Ms. Sanchita has shocked us all. It is an irreparable personal as well as a societal loss extremely difficult to overcome. We convey our heartfelt condolences to the NNEdPro family, and all concerned and pray the Almighty to grant peace to the departed soul. May her dedication to the nutrition programs continue to inspire us all – Management and Staff, Cordia Group of Institutes, Sanghol, India

Alas!!! So painful to learn about Sanchita left us. Hard to believe. Sanchita has been such a wonderful, sweet friend, key member of NNEdPro MTK project. Such a loving, caring, responsible human being. Difficult to forget the time spent with Sanchita in Sanghol, during my visit to Kolkata, her telecons following up the tasks so meticulously. Shall be missing you personally Sanchita. Praying Great Almighty to give courage and strength to her family to face this irreparable loss and the soul of divine sister to rest in Peace – Urmil Verma, CGI, Sanghol

Really shocked to read about sudden demise of Sanchita ji. She was a woman of dedication. Really her services will be missed by Cordia MTK team – Dr Harjinder Singh, CGI, Sanghol

This is a shocking news. May the soul rest in peace and I am really really going to miss her – Taruna Narang, CGI, Sanghol

I am so sad to hear this and it has come as a massive shock to all of us in CR who were working with her. In the brief time we knew her, we found her to be very warm, caring, and conscientious – Jaydeep Chakraborty and the Calcutta Rescue team

This is heart breaking for me. First week of December Sanchita and I had a good and deep discussion on how to extend NNEdPro work in western India. She was in Pune to visit her son. I will always remember her with respect and love. Life is really short. Looks like God needed her more than us – Sukanya Patwardhan

Very sad and shocked to hear of Sanchita’ s untimely passing! She was so active, enthusiastic, and dedicated a person who had so much to contribute. Our prayers and thoughts are with her family and dear colleagues. May God give them the strength to bear this tragic loss. RIP dear Sanchita – PRADAN Team (GRTA/TIGR2ESS)

Only few interactions I had with you, but you always accommodated me with warmth and politeness. May your soul Rest in peace – Suvajit Chakraborty, PRADAN (GRTA/TIGR2ESS)

So sorry to hear the passing of Sanchita. Her contributions to TIGR2ESS events were so helpful and she gave so much to those around her – Shailaja Fennel, University of Cambridge (TIGR2ESS)

I am so sorry to hear this. May her memory be a blessing to us all – Marla Fuchs (TIGR2ESS)

This is shocking. She was so helpful for the MTK visit by the OMM members to Kolkata and MTK/NNEdPro visit to Bhubaneshwar, our scholars participating in Summer School and the Odia translation of Odia translation of NNEdPro 10 pointer on Micronutrients. My sincere condolences and prayers – Srijit Mishra (TIGR2ESS)

This is so sad and tragic news. Our deepest sympathies and complete solidarity – Suraj Kumar (TIGR2ESS)

This news has indeed left one shaken. Such a wonderful colleague she was and so engaged. In fact, we were in touch after our FP6 meeting to share the rubric of the soft skills development programme we had designed as she wanted to use it for her team. RIP Sanchita! You will be missed greatly. Pray for her family to have the strength to bear the loss. Also wish them an early and full recovery from COVID. - Ramanjit Johal, Panjab University (TIGR2ESS)

Really devastated by this news. Sanchita was so regular in joining our weekly meetings, always smiling, helpful, taking on additional work. Never imagined this could happen and we will lose her so suddenly. Spoke to her on the 22nd and we were laughing and chatting as always. I also had the good fortune to meet her. She will be missed so much. May her soul rest in peace. All my prayers for her, wherever she is. And much courage and strength to her family to bear this terrible loss – Nitya Rao, University of East Anglia (TIGR2ESS)

Never imagined this. May she find eternal peace. May her family find strength to battle their own illness as well as bear this loss – Padmaja, ICRISAT Hyderabad (TIGR2ESS)

Devastating news. My thoughts are with her family and friends and everyone at NNEdpro who worked with her. She was such a kind soul and it was clear how much she was adored by everyone who got to know her and will be dearly missed and remembered by many – Jodie Weber and Ianthi Tsimpli, University of Cambridge (ESRC Project)

NNEdPro (India and South-Asia Regional Network) Kolkata Team

Remedy Clinic Study Group

Since taking over as a Project officer over two and half years ago, Sanchita became acquainted with her responsibilities and commitments within a short period. Thereafter, she performed exceedingly well. Soon, she became well-known with everyone associated with NNEdPro global, Remedy clinic and Bhavishya Shakti. It's hard to believe, she will not be interacting with us anymore. It would be very difficult to fill in the void created by her sad and unexpected demise. My heartfelt condolences to your family. I sincerely pray for her soul to rest in peace – Dr (Prof) Sabyasachi Ray

Very sad news. May her soul rest in peace - Sudeshna Mitra

It is heart-breaking news for me. Sanchita ma’ m not colleague she was friend for me. Every matter we have discussed. I lost my one friend and good people. Rest in peace Sanchita ma’am – Debashis Chakraborty

It is unfortunate for me that Sanchita ma'am had passed away. She used to treat me like her own son. For past 2 years, she groomed me to be a better person both personally and professionally. I pray to God that Sanchita ma'am's soul rest in peace. Ma'am bless me from heaven so that I can follow all your words all my life – Asim Kumar Manna

It started with “tum toh mera beta k age ki ho” and ended with “mai aaj hospital jaa rhi hun admit hone”. With the change in calendar date a major change came this year. We lost you. I will always miss you as a supportive senior, guiding guardian and loving leader to the team. I promise to make you proud of me one day – Harmanpreet Kaur


Sanchita, wherever you are, we will always remember you as a dear friend, a dedicated project officer, a good organizer, a kind soul and above all a very understanding and accommodating co-worker. You will always remain with us – Chitra Ray

It is extremely sad & hard to believe this. May Her soul rest in peace – Mitali Gupta

Sanchita, it is indeed very heart wrenching to let you go but know your smiling face and your dedication will prevail with us. Our deepest sympathy and condolences to your family members. Rest in peace till we meet again in that world – Suchitra Richard

It's a very very sad news. May her soul rest in peace – Mrs Mala Mukherjee

[BENGALI LANGUAGE – English Script] Kichutei mon ke manate parchina je Sanchita nei. khoob kosto hoche – Kashmira Ghosh

MTK Champions

[BENGALI LANGUAGE – English Script] Manoniya ma'am, Apni hothat kore amader majhkhan thek chole jaben amra keu vabte pari ni. Amar et jonno khub dukhkhito. Apni amader cholar pothe perona chhilen. Amra apnar kachh thek anek kichu shikhechchi. Tai amra apna I antorik o priti sroddhar madhyame pronam janai Apni jekhane thakun valo thakun santi thakun. R sara jibon amader pashe thakun.

[BENGALI LANGUAGE – Bengali Script] আমাদের মধ্যে যে ম্যাম নেই তা আমরা ভাবতেই পারছি না,আমরা খুবই দুঃখিত।।আমরা সকলেই ম্যামের আত্মার শান্তি কামনা করি।।উনি যেখানেই থাক ভালো থাক।।।উনি চিরকাল আমাদের মধ্যে অমর হয়ে থাকবেন।। - Shyamoli

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