Mobile Creches has been running daycare facilities for children of migrant construction workers in Delhi since 1969. The organization cares for roughly 14,000 children from 0-12 years old at a number of construction sites and urban slums. There are currently 53 daycare centers in the Delhi area either run or supervised by Mobile Creches that provide education, nutrition, and healthcare for children from 9 AM to 5 PM, six days a week. Mobile Creches runs training programs for childcare workers at their facilities and at other organizations as well. In addition, the organization also runs community education and advocacy programs on early childhood development (ECD) and lobbies for policy change and legislation at the national and state levels.
Mobile Creches operate three daycare models:
1. Direct delivery: Mobile Creches is responsible for the day-to-day operation of an individual daycare center at a construction site, as well as training staff and monitoring the quality of services delivered.
2. Shared ownership: Mobile Creches identifies NGO service providers and construction companies to implement and finance day-to-day services, while providing technical support in the form of employee training, initial setup, and close monitoring of services to ensure quality.
3. Transfer ownership: Construction companies are fully responsible for the management and financing of the crèche. Mobile Creches provides initial staff training and some ongoing supervision.
The Mobile Creches integrated program covers a variety of services, including:
-Nutrition support: Monitoring children’s growth, providing three hot and nutritious meals each day and a special diet for malnourished children, and helping mothers to take breaks from work to breastfeed their children
-Health and hygiene practices: Providing immunizations and clean drinking water, deworming, encouraging hand washing, and disinfecting toys.
-Education: Children at these centers receive different early education services depending on their age. Children from 0 to 2 years are given individual attention and stimulation by caregivers with singing, dancing and colorful environments. Children from 3 to 5 years learn through play and are helped with sensory motor skill development as well as pre-literacy and numeracy concepts. Children over 6 years are helped with school readiness, literacy and numeracy through tutorial support.
-Community engagement and advocacy: Increasing community awareness around early childhood development through one-on-one meetings with mothers, larger community meetings, street plays, local folk media, and training to build local leadership.
Mobile Creches works with citizens, NGOs, academic institutions, women's organizations, and trade unions to advocate on behalf of India's children. Advocacy focuses on quality Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS); nutritional support for children under three; Pre-School Education (PSE) and hot, cooked meals for all children in the age group of 3-6 years; and Universalized Maternity Entitlements. Policy advocacy is targeted at the Planning Commission, Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD), senior officials overseeing the ICDS and the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR). Campaign partners include the India Alliance for Child Rights; Right to Food Campaign; National and Delhi chapters of the Forum for Creche and Childcare Services (FORCES). Advocacy is enacted through research, campaigns, rallies, press meetings, and public hearings.
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CEI approaches in action
Mobile Creches reaches out to poor communities of migrant workers in urban slums and construction sites and offers them free childcare services.
Community engagement programs reached out to over 7,000 families in 2014.
1,347 malnourished children under 6 years old were given extra food in 2014.
4,047 children immunized in 2014.
There were 229 youth group members advocating for ECD in 2014.
Mobile Creches started in 1969 as a single basic shelter in Delhi. It grew over time to negotiate with builders for financial support, lobbying for childcare policy, and community engagement to help parents provide better care for their children. In addition to advocacy and engagement, Mobile Creches has expanded to care for approximately 14,000 children a year, reach out to 5,500 migrant families a year, and train 500 local women in childcare annually.
Mobile Creches is planning to scale up its daycare services by expanding its model of facilitating daycares run by construction companies. The organization will perform the initial setup and training for builder-run daycare centers and provide monitoring, supervision, and community engagement services while builders run the centers' day-to-day operations. Mobile Creches also plans to build awareness of early childhood development issues and change childcare practices at home while linking families to state services. The program is going to expand to invest more in women's groups and youth groups as well.