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Oct 29, 2018

Health Camps for children on construction sites!

Eye Check-up camp at our centre!
Eye Check-up camp at our centre!

Good health is the foundation of a happy childhood. However, adverse living conditions on construction sites such as continuous exposure to debris, mud, cement make our children especially vulnerable to eye, ear infections. They are constantly exposed to pollutants, loud noise posing huge risks to their sensory development. Many of our parents on construction sites find it difficult to get their children checked due time and resource constraints. Hence we at MMC organise regular dental, ear and eye check-up camps for children at our centres. Here few achievements in MMC’s health programme in the past six months April 2018 to September 2018:

  • Total No. of Health Camps: 29
  • Total No. of Children Reached through Health Camps: 1376
  • No. of Ear Camps: 17
  • No. of Children reached through ear camps: 753
  • No. of Eye Camps organised: 11
  • No. of Children reached through eye camps: 569
  • No. of Dental Camps: 1
  • No. of Children reached through dental camps:54

 We would like to share two stories of our children who were benefitted from the health camps organised at our centres.

Hansraj a two and half year old child from Beed district of the state of Maharashtra migrated with his family to Mumbai. His father works as a daily wage worker on a construction site while his mother works as a domestic helper in residential areas close by. During an ear check-up camp organised by MMC, the audiologists reported earwax blockage due to which Hansraj was experiencing pain and decreased hearing. He was referred to the hospital nearby. MMC staff accompanied him and his parents to the nearest municipal hospital where he was recommended ear drops and cleaning. His mother also went for follow up visits diligently and got his ear cleaned. His mother says, “He feels much better now and I am happy MMC conducts such camps otherwise it would have been difficult for me to find time and to know what my child is going through. I also am informed regularly about my child’s health and development and I am glad MMC is there to take care of my child while I am at work.”

Rahul is a bright, 11 year old boy from the state of Assam. He attends the local Municipal school in the afternoon and spends his mornings at the MMC centre. But since the last six months Rahul was finding it difficult to reading the writing on the black board at school and also suffered from frequent headaches. During the camp the ophthalmologist diagnosed a refractive error and referred Rahul to the nearest municipal hospital for further treatment. MMC staff accompanied him to hospital. Doctors at the hospital recommended use of eye drops and spectacles. Rahul is wearing these specs regularly since the last one month and has reported that his frequent headaches have reduced considerably. He is also able to see better in school.

We thank our donors for supporting our health programme. If you would like to continue contributing to the programmes of the Mumbai Mobile Creches, you can consider making a monthly recurring donation at the following link: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/mumbaimobilecreches/

Child screened during Ear Check up camp
Child screened during Ear Check up camp
Jul 31, 2018

"A Holistic Education: MMC's New Chess Initiative"

Check and Mate! Children enjoying chess !
Check and Mate! Children enjoying chess !

“I am surprised by the energy these children have to learn and play the game of chess. We have started playing test games with the children and their mind application (the way they think and solve problems) is amazing.” Kunal a trainer from a renowned chess training academy who comes weekly to teach our children, happily shared his thoughts with us.

These encouraging words from our trainer affirm MMC’s belief that if given the opportunity, our children can excel. Playing chess helps our children develop numerous skills needed to achieve their goals; it improves strategic thinking, problem solving, and patience. Last year we incorporated chess into our education programme at two centres.  After seeing the children’s enthusiasm and positive educational outcomes, we expanded the chess program to six centers, reaching a total of 150 children.

Two brothers from one of our centres, 10 year old Raju and 8 year old Sonu, are among many who eagerly wait for chess class. Raju and Sonu’s father migrated from a small village Begunsarai, Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai in search of livelihood and now work as a mason on the construction site where our centre is located. Both brothers have mastered the strategy of the game. The younger, Sonu, says “I ensure my king is always safe and I am always attentive of the opponent’s move. With practice I have become better. I win all games and now my friends don’t want to play with me”.

It was a proud moment for us when both Raju and Sonu, along with one more classmate, won silver medals in the entry level group at a chess tournament organized by the South Mumbai Chess Academy. The teachers have also observed that after learning the game, Raju is able to articulate his thoughts much more clearly and is able to think critically before making a decision. Playing chess has also proved beneficial for Sonu, who had struggled with a limited attention span. Now, with prolonged exposure to the game, his listening skills in class have improved and he remains engaged for the entirety of classroom activities.

Like Raju and Sonu, the chess programme is helping many children from our centres build life skills and grow in confidence. Another student, Kedar, shared that “I am enjoying playing chess with my classmates, and we mutually help each other if we get stuck or go wrong”. Alisha shared that “I did not know the game earlier, and hence was very hesitant to learn the game. But as sir (trainer) started teaching us, I started understanding the game and now I enjoy the game very much. I love the queen. She can move in any direction.” The chess initiative has undoubtedly been a valuable addition to our education programme and has had a positive impact on the lives of our children.

We thank our donors for supporting our education programme. If you would like to continue contributing to the programmes of the Mumbai Mobile Creches, you can consider making a monthly recurring donation at the following link: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/mumbaimobilecreches/

Child engrossed in learning the techniques of play
Child engrossed in learning the techniques of play
Trainer teaching techniques of the game to our chi
Trainer teaching techniques of the game to our chi
Girls from our centre practicing chess
Girls from our centre practicing chess
May 21, 2018

Sumit's Journey: From Severe Malnourishment to A Healthy Weight

Teacher feeding nutritious meal to a creche child
Teacher feeding nutritious meal to a creche child

In order to ensure that that all children living on construction sites enjoy healthy and happy childhoods, MMC goes beyond providing healthcare and nutrition at the centres. Our teachers are committed to educating and uplifting the migrant community from the inside, by communicating with parents, and by following up about the children even when they leave Mumbai.    

When one-year-old Sumit* arrived in Jasai, at our centre located on a stone quarry site, he weighed only 6.78 kgs. His parents had recently migrated to Jasai in 2015, from Beed, a rural, drought-prone area in Maharasthra. Sumit’s family is part of India’s mass migration moves to cities in search of livelihood opportunities. They worked long and difficult hours at the stone quarry and therefore, could not care properly for Sumit. When MMC opened its Jasai centre in January 2016, teachers found that Sumit was suffering from severe acute malnourishment (SAM). According to UNICEF[1], a SAM child is nine times more likely to die than a child with a normal weight in the same circumstances.  

MMC teachers closely monitored Sumit’s health and nutritional status and consulted Sumit’s parents. They found that Sumit weighed only 2kgs at birth and did not receive regular and adequate meals. However, before Sumit could be taken to see medical professionals, his family had to move back to Beed. Because of the nature of India’s construction industry, migrant labourers are often hired temporarily and suddenly let go, leaving the workers homeless, with no choice but to move back to their village.

Fortunately, Sumit’s family returned to Jasai seven months later. The doctors that visit MMC’s centers quickly noted Sumit’s precarious nutritional status and referred him to a nearby hospital where he was prescribed micronutrient supplementation. Under the diligent care of MMC’s teachers and doctors, Sumit began to steadily gain weight. After his weight improved to 7.59 kgs, he was no longer categorized as severe acute malnourished (SAM). However, he was still malnourished. When MMC’s teachers noticed that he was no longer gaining weight, they quickly moved him to a special diet of protein, multivitamins and calcium. The teachers regularly discussed Sumit’s progress and nutritional needs, with his mother. For Sumit to become healthy and stay healthy, his family needed to be involved.

After 3 months of special diet supplementation, Sumit finally weighed 9kgs, the normal weight for a child of his age. MMC continues to monitor his health to ensure that he remains healthy and ready to attend school soon.

Achievements in MMC’s health programme in the past quarter, January 2018 to March 2018:

  • 1403 illnesses detected and treatment facilitated
  • 1790 vaccinations given to children
  • 212 times doctors’ visits were organised
  • 61 chai Pani Meetings (informal meetings with parents) organised to discuss health and other social issues.
  • 534 people reached through chai pani meetings on average every month

The funds received through GlobalGiving in the past months has been utilised towards some of the abovementioned essential components of our healthcare programme like doctors’ fees, medicines, multivitamins and calcium supplements for children, hygiene care materials, etc. It has also been utilised towards providing food for children, which includes milk, fruits, and nutritious snacks.

We look forward to support from funders through GlobalGiving to build bright futures for children like Sumit.

[1] https://www.unicef.org/nutrition/index_sam.html

*Name changed to protect the identity of the child

Regular Ht and Wt screening
Regular Ht and Wt screening
Discussion with parents on health issues
Discussion with parents on health issues
Children enjoying meal at our centre!
Children enjoying meal at our centre!
 
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