Sep 15, 2017

Read to Grow!

Child engrossed in reading at our centre
Child engrossed in reading at our centre

“It is not always possible for me to read at home, but I am happy that I get the opportunity here at our centre to read interesting story books.  I love reading story books with mysteries.”

The above quote is a sharing by Ankita*, a child from our daycare centres on construction sites. As many of the children we cater to are first-generation learners, they are limited in their access to quality reading materials. With this in mind, MMC’s library programme ensures access to quality, age appropriate reading materials for children at our centres. Interactive reading sessions inculcate a love for books among children and provide them opportunities to read both independently and with others, and engage with the texts in meaningful ways. The library programme is one of the children’s favourite in MMC’s education programme. There are four important components of our library programme:

  • D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) gives children time each day to spend reading independently or in small groups.
  • Mujhe Padhkar Sunao (Read to me) programme encourages parents to read picture books to their children when they drop them off or pick them up. This creates a wonderful bond among parents and children.
  • Story Time takes place once a week, during which teachers narrate a book and conduct follow-up activities.
  • Phirti Library allows children and parents to check out books at MMC’s centre library corners, twice a week, to take home with them. The community has really enjoyed being able to take books home to share with other family members and read in their free time!

It amazes us when our children climb up the ladder from recognising letters to words and ultimately reads the story books fluently. Radha* is a 9 year old girl from the state of Jharkhand which is over 1500 km away from the city of Mumbai. Her family migrated three years ago to Mumbai. Radha’s father works as daily wage worker on a construction site in Navi Mumbai while her mother works a domestic helper in nearby residences. When enrolled at the MMC daycare centre on the site three years ago, Radha was in the red group (beginner level) and was able to identify simple letters. Over the years at MMC, Radha’s reading has improved a lot. She is now in blue group (advanced level) and able to read story books fluently. *names changed to protect identity.

Books for children in MMC’s Library according to Reading levels

  •  Red: The child is able to identify some letter but has poor skills to read simple words- 1600 copies of 184 books
  • Yellow- The child is able to identify simple letters and words- 3217 copies of 445 books
  • Blue- The child is able to identify all the letters and can able to read words and sentences-3467 copies of 436 books

The MMC library programme, called “Read to Grow,” which began in October of 2012 is now in full swing.Our library made available 8,500+ copies of over 1,000 titles for children. We thank you for your support for Mumbai Mobile Creches and we look forward to your continued engagement.

If you would like to contribute to the programmes of the Mumbai Mobile Creches, you can consider doing a monthly donation at the following link: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/mumbaimobilecreches/

Teacher reading story to our creche section !
Teacher reading story to our creche section !
Children reading books!
Children reading books!
Story Time :)
Story Time :)
Jun 20, 2017

A Healthy Future

Doctor's checkup
Doctor's checkup

A child learns best when he is healthy and full of energy. To be an attentive listener and active participant in the classroom, a child must be well nourished and healthy. However, families living on construction sites have little or no access to healthcare facilities. Therefore, Mumbai Mobile Creches incorporates a comprehensive health and hygiene component into our day care programmes. Our goal is to ensure that every child receives the preventative and curative care they need. Our programme also promotes sustainable healthcare by generating awareness among parents about healthcare options and encouraging migrant families to adopt healthy habits at home. 

MMC makes sure each child is receiving the necessary care and treatment for her or his individual state of health.  Doctors regularly visit the centers and screen for common illnesses. Teachers chart children’s weight and height, which is further monitored by doctors during their visits. “There is an improvement in my child’s health after coming to MMC center. The doctor prescribed a medicine and suggested healthy dietary practices which helped in increasing her weight.”– A parent of a child from one of our daycare centers.

Last year, we facilitated over 800 doctor’s visits and facilitated identification and treatment of over 11,000 cases of various illnesses. We also organized over 75 health camps, including 30 eye camps, 40 ear camps and 5 dental check-up camps which benefited a total of over 3000 children.  In addition, parents are made aware about the available healthcare options in the area and connects families with local healthcare facilities to organize immunizations. In certain cases, if a child needs surgery or intensive medical care, MMC helps to arrange and pay for those procedures. 

Healthy hygiene practices are also practiced at the daycare centres on the construction sites. Centers are swept thrice a day and regularly mopped and disinfected in order to maintain a clean environment for the children. In the morning, the crèche babies are powdered before being given a clean uniform to wear. We also emphasize the importance of hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer in order to encourage healthy personal hygiene habits. “Earlier my child used to play on road, in cement and dust. She used to eat with the same dirty hands. But now I am very happy that at MMC's centre is there on our site. Now, my child washes her hand before eating anything even when she is at home.” – A parent of a child from one of our daycare centres.

Furthermore, the MMC health program works in the greater community to create awareness about health issues and promote a sustainable health model.  We address popular topics like the importance of breastfeeding, vaccinations, parenting practices, malnutrition in children and common childhood illnesses like nutritional anaemia, tuberculosis, etc., through chai pani meetings (parent teacher meetings). Over 200 chai pani meetings were held at our centres reaching over 400 community members on average every month. Lokdoots (street plays) focus on spreading knowledge through entertaining plays which transcend language barriers. The topics cover hygiene and sanitation, safety practices to be followed on construction sites, importance of education, etc. Through over 60 street plays, we reached over 9000 construction site community members.

From organizing family informational sessions and paying for doctor’s honorarium and providing medical care, your support helps MMC makes sure each child and family can get the access to healthcare they need.

Eye checkup camp
Eye checkup camp
"Wash, wash, wash your hands!"
"Wash, wash, wash your hands!"
Monthly height measurement of infants
Monthly height measurement of infants

Links:

Mar 23, 2017

Lasting change requires a community

Lokdoot at a construction site
Lokdoot at a construction site

MMC works with migrant children living on construction sites, 60 percent of whom stay with us for only three months or less. The parents of these children constantly move from one place to another in search of work, easily pulling up stakes and moving overnight because they have very little personal belongings.

Once a child leaves the construction site, it is very difficult to track them. Our early childhood intervention approach would be unsustainable if we did not involve the entire community. Children do not stay at our centres forever, so we understand that their families must be better equipped to help nurture the children's development long after they leave the MMC centre.

We work very closely with the community and parents by conducting different programmes to impart information on a range of social issues. Our goal is to see that all of MMC’s work ties into the larger aim of supporting the rights of children on construction sites. Additionally, we aim to promote migrant families’ rights, health, and access to government resources.

Here is a snapshot of the programmes that our teachers organise for the parents:

Chai Pani (tea water) meetings are one of the primary means of disseminating information, building community relationships, and communicating with migrant workers living on construction sites. These meetings take place once a month and each focus on a different topic that is relevant to the community. The meetings are informal and allow for open and honest discussions and questions to be asked. Through these meetings the teachers aim to raise awareness about important social, personal, or community issues and provide relevant information about best practices and resources to address these issues. When appropriate, teachers employ charts or visual aids to better convey their points.  

A few examples of chai pani meeting topics include school admissions processes, common illnesses during monsoons, importance of breastfeeding, vaccinations, good parenting practices, malnutrition in children, and illness like nutritional anaemia, and tuberculosis.

Open Day Meetings: These are parent-teacher meetings, which give an opportunity for the teachers to discuss the progress of the child with the parents. These meetings give a platform to the teachers to converse about the details specific to each child, aiding to her/his growth and development.

Lokdoots (street plays) are one of MMC’s innovative methods of communicating with migrant communities to provide information about important social, economic, or communal issues. Street plays are effective conduits for our community outreach work in that they circumvent the issue of illiteracy and speak to the highly oral Indian culture. Through engaging street plays, people’s attention is captured in a way that cannot be achieved through presenting written materials.

During the street plays, the MMC team may address a number of different issues. These could include the importance of best personal hygiene practices, how to open a bank account, how to access ration cards or nearby medical services, and more.

MMC sees the community as the central focus for creating awareness and sustainability of early childhood intervention.  In this way, we empower members of the construction workers’ community to advocate for their own needs and to build a safer, healthier environment for their children. Through workshops, training, monthly community meetings, and street theatre we aim to ensure that every child enjoys a happy and nurturing childhood.

Funds received from GlobalGiving helped us fund salaries of teachers who conduct the abovementioned meetings and plays on the construction sites. Your contributions has helped us to run the programme in effective and sustainable manner.

Chai Pani (tea water) meeting
Chai Pani (tea water) meeting
Lokdoot(street play) for construction site workers
Lokdoot(street play) for construction site workers
 
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