Providing Children of Migrant Construction Workers with a Safe and Child Friendly Environment for the Holistic Development of Each Child
The vulnerability of migrant workers and the safety of their children is less talked about and addressed. Children’s needs like health and nutrition, education and cognitive learning needs, interactive and social enabling environment and above all safe parenting care for migrant children while their parents work is often overlooked. Such children do not have access to a safe environment for their growth.
Sampark could not help but notice the importance of such a support structure for a constantly displaced community. In Bangalore with the construction workers boom, this number couldn’t be easily ignored.
Sampark has been running the crèche project for the past 9 years to address the issues of one of the most neglected and vulnerable groups in a developing country like India. Sampark have 7 creches for the children of migrant workers in the construction sector in Bangalore, based in the labour camps where the workers live in for a time period ranging from a period of 6 months up to even 3 years. The crèches have children from the age of 6 months to 12 years. These crèches run from 9.30 to 5.00pm. Each crèche has 2 teachers and one aaya. These crèches are made like tin sheds in the construction site itself with the support of the builder through Sampark’s efforts to liaison. In the crèche we divide the groups into 3 sub-groups: With the crèche consisting of children from 6 months to 3 years, Balwadi consisting of children from 3- 6 years, and Non formal education (NFA) from the age of 6 to 12 years.
For each group of children Sampark have received age appropriate curriculum from Mobile Creche (a supporting organisation based in Delhi). According to the curriculum there are activities for the holistic development of the children such as physical, linguistic, social and numerical abilities. Each day is planned for each group with activities such as physical exercises and storytelling for language development and other tools to develop creativity and activities for school readiness. The teachers at Sampark crèches are trained staff which undergoes monthly trainings on management of the crèche, and taking care of the children along with regular skill development programme for the teacher. Sampark also have an effort to link the children with formal schools in order to receive a mainstream education.
Sampark conducts meetings with parents every month in each crèche where the development and progress of their children is discussed. Some issues like health problems, absenteeism, malnutrition, under-nutrition and problems related to the health and hygiene of the children and their homes are discussed where the parents can help actively work with the teachers to address them. Sampark also discuss the role of parents in the child’s overall development in order to assist them in tackling their progress better.
Along with this Sampark has a nutrition programme which provides a free meal to every child in the crèche usually which consists of a nourishing porridge for breakfast for the children to fulfil the energy needs of the children. The afternoon meal is provided by Akshay Patra Foundation which contains of nourishment for the child’s growth.
Sampark provides the children withmultivitamins and supplements to tackle iron deficiency to ensure better absorption of nutrients. Sampark has also linked the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) for their immunisation and health referral services. Sampark also conducts health camps periodically for the children of Migrant Workers to check for diseases, nutritional status and gaps in nourishment of the children.
Interactive Environment and Exposure
Twice a year Sampark take the children to the children’s carnival and Bangalore Sante where children get to play and interact with other children as Samparkll as be exposed to different games and enriching forms of entertainment. This involves fun activities like magic tricks, dances and other recreational activities like art competitions and games for the development of different capabilities.
Construction sites are fraught with issues of safety that can adversely impact the lives of children if ignored. In the absence of education and health needs and with no external adult support in the labour colonies, the children’s needs are neglected severely. In this environment Sampark ensures a safe and clean place to play, learn and interact with each other, where their growth is protected and nurtured in the healthiest possible environment. This sort of environment also prevents children from losing track of their own development if neglected for long.