Founded in 1974 by Dr. Samir Chaudhuri, a dedicated paediatrician passionate about addressing child malnutrition, CINI began its journey in the villages around Kolkata. Initially, it served as a clinic for malnourished children under five. In 1975, it expanded to provide nutrition rehabilitation for severely malnourished children. Simultaneously, CINI developed Nutrimix, an affordable, nutritious cereal-pulse blend that gained recognition from the World Bank in 2009. As CINI’s engagement with communities grew beyond clinical settings, it became evident that factors like poverty, inequality, and the status of women were intricately linked to child well-being. This realization prompted a shift toward a multidisciplinary approach, transforming CINI’s team from primarily a medical one to an interdisciplinary unit.

In the early 1980s, collaborative research efforts deepened our understanding of maternal and child health in impoverished contexts. The evidence and extensive programmatic experience underscored the importance of moving beyond child survival and embracing a holistic approach to child development. Children facing challenges related to poverty needed comprehensive support. Consequently, CINI expanded its programs to encompass child protection and education, inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC invigorated CINI’s human rights approach, reinforcing its commitment to delivering a comprehensive, rights-based range of child-centred services. The life-cycle approach (LCA) also became a cornerstone of CINI’s programmes, providing comprehensive care from pregnancy through early childhood and extending into the crucial adolescent years.

During this expansion period, capacity building became a pivotal focus of CINI’s efforts, with the establishment of the CINI Chetana Resource Centre (CCRC) specializing in training both government and non-government personnel. Our operations also expanded to Kolkata, where we initiated an urban unit initially known as CINI ASHA. The expansion also marked the inception of our engagement with various vulnerable groups, including street children, those found in railway stations, residents of red-light areas and slums, and child labourers. These initiatives laid the groundwork for a comprehensive child protection programme, complementing our ongoing work on HIV/AIDS, which had been initiated in 1995.

In the early 21st century, CINI achieved a significant milestone by establishing the CINI Adolescent Resource Centre (ARC) in 2000. While CINI had a history of serving children throughout their life cycles, this period brought a sharper focus on adolescents. Initially, our initiatives concentrated on addressing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and youth. Over time, we expanded our efforts to encompass adolescent nutrition, school retention, and protection from all forms of abuse, exploitation, and violence. This shift marked a deliberate move towards a distinct child rights-based programming approach.