Home Press Release CSR News: Mobile Creches reach 18925 households affected by the lockdown

CSR News: Mobile Creches reach 18925 households affected by the lockdown

In its report released on 7th April, ILO estimates 40 crore unorganised sector workers will be pushed deeper into poverty due to the lockdown and containment plans of the government. This is further expected to impact the health, nutrition, development, and future possibilities of an estimated 5.6 crore children under six years of age. There are painful visuals of little children walking beside their parents as hundreds and thousands of migrant workers tried walking back to their villages immediately after the lockdown was announced by the government on 25th March.
During this period, Mobile Creches (MC), a fifty-one-year-old organisation working for the rights of vulnerable young children under the age of six years, for quality Early Childhood Development, has continued to remain connected to the poor young children and their migrant working parents across construction sites and urban slums.
In a rapid assessment conducted by NGO Jan Sahas, in April 2020, it is learnt that forty-two per cent of the daily wage workers interviewed,  did not have food rations to last beyond a  day.  In the construction industry that contributes nearly nine per cent to the country’s GDP, the report pointed out that ninety-four per cent of the construction workers interviewed were not registered, ruling out the possibility of them benefitting from the cash benefits announced by state governments from the Building and Construction Workers Cess Funds.
MC and its network of local NGOs are in contact with these migrant families to track their health and safety and provide food to these families. They are directing the support to families of women working as construction labour, domestic  workers,  waste  pickers,  street vendors,  daily  wagers,  and  other informal occupations,  who  have lost their livelihoods and stare at an uncertain future. Since the nationwide lockdown was announced, they have ensured food for basic survival to more than 14,500 households across 12 cities in nine states and union territories.
In its  COVID-19  emergency  relief  response,  governments  are  not  adequately  addressing  the  unique needs of young children such as their need for care, balanced nutrition, health and hygiene and early learning has taken a backseat. A recent study (February 2020) commissioned by Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has found that more than fifty per cent households in Delhi’s JJ clusters still practice open defecation due to lack of toilet facilities. When twenty-seven per cent of Delhi’s under 5 children are stunted (low height for age) and nearly sixty per cent children are anaemic (NHFS IV), the risks of increasing malnutrition levels is very high as a result of increased hunger amongst children during the  pandemic.  In the food distribution packets, MC has included additional protein supplements like sattu, soya granules, and fresh milk. However, the government has to address the risk of malnutrition burden by implementing the Supreme Court order of 18th March that “the schemes for providing nutritious food to the children and nursing and lactating mothers are not adversely affected” during the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.
Kiran’s two year old toddler has been attending the Naraina Vihar crèche run by MC. She works as a domestic worker in the neighbourhood and is the only earning member in her family of four. Since the announcement of the nationwide lockdown, she has been unable to collect her last month’s wages from the homes she worked in and is left with no money to buy groceries to sustain her family. “I don’t have a ration card so the shopkeeper will not give me atta and dal. The ration I received from you will help me feed both my children”, says Kiran.
Sumitra Mishra, executive director, MC said: “As India responds to the humanitarian crisis facing its people, the first responsibility of MC has been to respond to the immediate hunger and survival needs of its communities. Thousands of people, including young children are living across construction sites, labour camps, temporary shelters, urban slums without access to basic food, health, safety and protection systems. Our community teams have been the real heroes, individually tracking families and ensuring they have food provisions through the ration shops or community kitchens set up by the government. For unregistered workers and those who are just not able to access free rations from PDS shops, MC and its many partners are stepping forward to meet food and other survival requirements.”
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