Ashraya's Crèches program has a chain effect on children and their families’ livelihoods. We organize regular parents’- teachers’ meetings to generate awareness on the importance of cleanliness and hygiene, to sensitize them on the significance of educating their children, irrespective of their sex. The women in the surrounding areas of Ashraya’s crèches are able to leave their children in a safe, conducive and intellectually stimulating environment and go to work, thereby helping them augment their family income, which in turn benefits the living conditions of the families.
Ashraya's crèches at Shivajinagar, Yelahanka, Sidapura, Avalahalli, Banaswadi, Indiranagar and Arsinakunte have been running in an efficient manner. The Social worker makes monthly visits to each creche to monitor and evaluate the functioning and maintenance of the crèches. The doctor also paid monthly visits to the crèches to monitor the general health of the children. Progress in health and nutrition is evaluated and he also advises the teachers on nutritional requirements so that they can inform the families. Malnutrition is detected early and parents of undernourished children are advised to give the child a better diet to ensure their good health. Every Ashraya creche provides a good, healthy afternoon meal which generally consists of rice, a curry with lentils and veggies, followed by a fruit, which gives the children a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and other essential nutrients for growth and development.
A meeting was held with families in this quarter to discuss their plans for their children, with respect to their education. Teachers and staff motivated and counselled the families regarding various options and support programs offered by the government.
Ashraya’s Creches program has brought about a significant change in the outlook of the families in the slums, and in the labour colonies. It has imbibed in them a sense of responsibility, awareness regarding health, nutrition and also most importantly driven the importance of educating their children. Almost 100% of the children at our crèches, when they reach the age of four, are moved to regular, formal schools, either English medium or Kannada medium. The crèches program helped women go to work which led to families having better income, thereby, resulting in a positive frame of mind to take sound decisions, regarding the education of their children.
The creches are running very efficiently and our creche teachers counsel the parents and the family and motivate them to encourage their children to pursue education. The outcome is most fulfilling as 100% of our kids, when they reach the age of four, are put into formal schooling by the parents and family. This is an important indicator of the quality of work done by our creche teachers and the impact of the Creches project on the weaker section of the society. 50% of our children have got into Government English medium schools, which is remarkable!!
We organized a Teachers' training workshop at our premises in Indiranagar, for our Creche teachers. It was conducted by Ms.Nandini Prakash, Secretary of the Indian Institute of Montessori Studies, who has many years of experience in teaching Montessori style and working with children
The objective of the workshop was to:
1.To improve their teaching methodologies and skills
2. To help better understand children and their needs
3. To help manage issues relating to childrens' behavioural problems
It was a whole day's workshop and our teachers enjoyed the workshop and thought it was a very good experience as it gave them a platform to voice their thoughts and discuss various issues relating to the field of teaching.Overall, it was a wonderful learning experience for all of them.
Banaswadi creche- The compound wall at the creche deserved a transformation as it was looking too bare and simple for a fun-place where kids were having a great time. So we decided to get a professional to make a colourful and bright Warli painting, an exotic form of Indian Art, on the wall. Warli folk paintings are the painting of Maharashtra and Warli is the name of the largest tribe found in the northern outskirts of Mumbai, in Western india. We also had an increase in the number of admissions once the painting on the wall was made. Also the parents and the families are so proud to have their children going to the most attractive and hygienic creche in the area.
We have been having committed volunteers working with us in all our creches and they have been of immense support to the programme.
Ashraya currently runs 7 creches in Yelahanka, Siddapura, Shivajinagar, Nelamangala, Avalahalli, Banaswadi,and Indiranagar.
The Ashraya creches in Banaswadi and Indiranagar are our most recent projects, that were started in December and January, respectively.
The Banaswadi creche: The creche, after renovation, has been operational for the past 2 months. The creche is located in the midst of the Banaswadi slum to cater to the children of slum dwellers, street vendors and of other below poverty line families. Currently there are 36 children in the creche, who are taught the alphabets, numbers, colours, objects, etc. Most of them being first generation learners, this sets a path for learning for the children. The families are advised on the need to maintain daily hygiene such as bathing their children everyday. The Ashraya teachers insist that the children be brought to the creche with clean clothes, combed hair, etc. which imbibes a certain sense of responsibility on the parents before they leave the children in the creche.
Indiranagar Creche :The Creche in Indiranagar has been up and running for a month now. It was started on January 2nd 2012. The objective was to enable women to maintain their livelihood without worrying about their children. Most of the children are of domestic maids, dhobis ( 'dhobis' are traditional laundrymen who wash and press clothes or only press clothes), construction labourers, gardeners, of women who string flower garlands from their home and barely earn INR 10 a day for their job, etc., in the surrounding area.
We recently organized a New Year Party for all the children in our creches. The party was held in Ashraya's Indiranagar premises on January 13th 2012.
It started with the children playing in the bouncing houses (inflatable units) that was sponsored by 'Jumporee', Kids' Bounce House Rental Company' who wanted to start off their project with a Charitable event, involving underprivileged children. The kids had a fabulous time as they had never experienced anything like this before!!
This was followed by dazzling performances of singing and dance by the creche children, each one more stunning than the other!!! The little ones were rewarded with a great magic show which left them spellbound.
We had organized a hearty vegetarian meal for the kids, that included rice, rotis (Indian breads), vegetable curries, etc. after which each one was given a New Year gift.
Overall it was day that was full of life and fun for the kids!!!
The four creches currently operating in Shivaji Nagar, Yelahanka, Siddapura and Alahalli are progressing well. There are 167 children in these four creches. In Alahalli, there are now 35 children and every day, we have to refuse new admissions :( as we are filled to capacity.
The need for more creches is very acute and validates Ashraya's vision of opening more such creches. As a realization of our vision, we have purchased land in a big slum area called Banaswadi/Lingarajpram, where we have seen a need for day care centres. This enables women to go to work knowing that their children are in a safe place.
Work is in progress in the new land. The land already had a building, which is being updated. There are 2 classrooms, one kitchen,two bathrooms and an outhouse that will function as a store room. Outreach is being done by our social worker and a lot of interest is being shown by the residents of the area. The creche can hold a maximum of about 50 children and is expected to begin functioning by the beginning of December 2011.
The three site crèches at Yelahanka, Siddapura and Shivaji Nagar continue to run successfully.
A new crèche has been opened at Avalahalli. This new crèche is run in association with Promac. The crèche was started on the 1st of June 2011. This is not a crèche at the construction site, but is one for all petty traders and day labourers. This locality (Avalahalli) consists of many garment manufacturing companies. The main employees of thee companies are women. Thus, a lot of working women leave their young children home without proper child-care personnel. To address this problem, the crèche has been set up here. The age group of the children that attend the crèche is 2 yr, 10 month – 5 years. There are currently 30 children registered at te crèche.
There are three staff at the crèche, who we hired in May, after a series of interviews. Mrs. Neetha is the crèche teacher. She has been with Ashraya for 2 years as a crèche teacher at the Women’s Centre crèche. She has training in Balasevika care, offered by the Karnataka state government. Mrs. Sunitha is the crèche worker. She is a new hire with 2 years experience. The helper is Mrs. Shivamma.
Mrs. Chandy (Secretary, Ashraya) and Ms. Susan (Social Worker) visited the crèche two times since the crèche started operations. They met with the Government Doctor, who visits the Primary Health Centre near the crèche and arranged to have him visit the crèche once a month for providing vaccinations and general health check up of the children.
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