With growing urbanization in the country, more and more people are moving to larger cities to seek jobs and make a better life for themselves. The cities, ill-prepared for the surge in population is doing its best to accommodate all the migrants by expansion. This has caused a lot more construction projects to line up in the city.
Construction labourers in major cities are all migrants from some small villages. These labour families have all the adult members working to make ends meet. The children often get overlooked in the situation. They roam the camps under the community’s supervision and end up receiving very little food, education or medical care.
India has the world’s largest community based early childhood and maternal health program, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme. It provides public health, nutrition, and education services to children under six, as well as breastfeeding mothers through Anganwadi centres. But most of these centres do not operate close to construction sites.
Mobile Creches is a nonprofit, which pioneers in onsite daycare for these construction workers. For almost 50 years, it has cared for vulnerable children and their mothers through its community-oriented early childcare and child education model in construction sites and informal urban settlements.
Research has shown that kids who attend mobile creches for significant periods of time have shown gains in nutrition, hygiene, and cognitive and school readiness skills. However, research evaluating the impact of these kinds of interventions is tricky by its process. Migrant workers and their kids move around often and, as a result, attrition is high and sample sizes are too small, so generalizing findings can be difficult.
In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the organization ran 72 creches and helped 10,828 children in construction sites in New Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Mohali, and Chandigarh, and 1,196 in poor urban settlements in New Delhi. While Mobile Creches can’t help every vulnerable child in India, they do reach some, helping to initiate a conversation about the importance of early childhood development within poor communities.
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The CSR Journal Team