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Oct 2, 2016

The Torchbearers of MMC

Teacher with Creche babies
Teacher with Creche babies

I created my identity as a teacher which was a proud moment for me.” Kalpana shares with confidence. Kalpana is one among many trainees who graduated from MMC’s Balpalika-teacher Training Programme which prepares women extensively in care-giving and various aspects of working with children.

Kalpana’s life was very different from what she has today. Her journey from being a daily wage worker in sugarcane field to a teacher at MMC’s day care centre is full of struggle.

Due to her family’s poor financial condition, she could not continue her education after 11th grade. After marriage also she and her husband used to work in the sugarcane fields for bare minimum wages. Since managing the household from that income was becoming very difficult, they decided to move to the Mumbai and Kalpana’s husband got a job on a construction site. Fortunately, on the same site, there was a day care centre for children of construction workers, run by Mumbai Mobile Creches.  Soon she came to know about the one-year teacher training course of MMC.

The training programme not only helped her to get the job in Mumbai Mobile Creches, it helped her to overcome her fear, to regain self-esteem. It helped her to groom her personality. Kalpana remembers “Initially I had to struggle for everything, like with the language, with travelling alone in the new city, etc. But soon I felt a positive shift within me.” She is currently pursuing her graduation.

Kalpana is now a very active teacher at one of centre on construction site helping children to get education, giving them wings to fly and achieve their dreams. After creating her own identity, she is helping these children to create their own.

Like Kalpana, over 30 percent of our teachers come from the community of construction workers which MMC serves. The teachers at Mumbai Mobile Creches’ centres are unquestionably our most valuable asset on the construction sites. They do much more than just teach and implement the curricula in the classrooms, although that alone constitutes an enormous feat. In the classroom, our teachers adopt the role of both teacher and caregiver, undertaking tasks ranging from monitoring a child’s health to conducting writing lessons to miraculously soothing crying crèche babies. In the community, they lead our outreach initiatives, whether by facilitating meetings with parents or conducting home visits. Their integrity in maintaining databases of children and centre activities is remarkable. Despite the enormous responsibility and arduous working environment, our teachers (some of whom have worked with us for over two decades) remain devoted to their work and to our children.

Funds received from GlobalGiving helped us fund salaries of teachers, like Kalpana, who are the torchbearers of our programmes. Your contributions helped us to run the programme in effective and sustainable manner.  

Children learning numbers
Children learning numbers
Centre decorations by teacher
Centre decorations by teacher
Teacher giving medicine to children
Teacher giving medicine to children
Jul 7, 2016

The Joy of Summer

Children enjoying festival of play!
Children enjoying festival of play!

For most children, summer vacation is one of the most anticipated times of the year, of less work and more play! To celebrate, we organise ‘Khel Mahotsav’, a festival of play, along with ‘Shramadaan’ – voluntary services for the community, at all our centres in May. For children, it acts a respite from books and studying for a month. And at the same time, it enables development of multiple skills among children like sportsmanship, team work, societal awareness and civic responsibility. 

This year’s Khel Mahotsav began with preparing mascots for the festival, and the games quickly followed. Several indoor and outdoor games were organised by children and teachers, of which many became popular favourites at the centres! Team spirit quickly grew amongst the children—the competition was high, but so was the solidarity amongst them.

The onlooking parents soon had their own fun, as MMC organised icebreakers and games for all community members! They were grateful to share in the joy of play with their children. 

‘Shramadaan’ – voluntary services for the community, was celebrated, which brought children together in a different way—not to compete, but to change the world in their own ways. The environment was a key focus this year. Children learned about civic responsibility, conservation, and waste segregation. The importance of the latter they explained confidently to their parents at chai pani meetings (community meetings), creating wet and dry garbage bins and encouraging their use! Teachers and children also created banners and posters to rally their community.

Under this year’s theme of “Save Water,” children were also able to experiment with buoyancy, solubility, and filtration. Their curiosity and engagement never fails to impress us here at MMC, and it is for the excitement and joy we see in them that we do what we do.

Through Khel Mahotsav and Shramadaan, we ensure this sense of true childhood, fulfilling every child’s right to play and learn. 

Children having fun during a game.
Children having fun during a game.
Bird's nest created by children
Bird's nest created by children
"Save Water"- Model by children
"Save Water"- Model by children
Apr 13, 2016

Children's Annual Camp 2016

Fun activities at the camp!
Fun activities at the camp!

After many years of camping by the sea shore, this year, Mumbai Mobile Creches' annual camp for children shifted to a new venue – the lush green campus of the Yusuf Meherally Centre in Panvel, Maharashtra. Located far away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Mumbai, this campus with its greenery and serenity, instantly became a connection to nature for MMC’s children.

MMC has been organising the annual camp for the last 29 years for the young children living on construction sites across Mumbai. The camp gives the children an opportunity to see and enjoy a world that is very different from their construction site reality.

The Yusuf Meherally Centre campus houses several small scale enterprises. It was a wonderful destination for taking the children for the camp, as it turned out to provide them a great deal of exposure and learning about the outside world.

Children visited the different manufacturing units and learned about the processes of making oil, soap, manures, fertilizers, clay pottery, etc. They visited the Mahatma Gandhi-Kasturba kutir (cottage), made in memory of the Father of the Nation and his wife. Teachers explained about Gandhiji’s life and values, while children listened intently.

In the evening, children performed songs, dances, skits, etc. They had been preparing for this performance for weeks, which could clearly be seen in their lovely performances. Their enthusiasm, efforts, and bright smiling faces lit up the evening’s spirits. The cheerful audience of children and teachers encouraged every performance, making it a lively and fun filled evening.

Two events were scheduled to take place the next day – an interactive game show and a magic show. Children thoroughly enjoyed both the events with uninterrupted enthusiasm. They actively participated in the interactive games organised by the game show host. They watched with awe as the magician pulled out one trick after another, thrilled by the surprises that waited for them.

After a delicious lunch, children and teachers headed towards back to their respective centres, with a heavy heart and a ray of hope to come back again next year.

Children attending a session about fertilisers
Children attending a session about fertilisers
After cultural performances in the evening
After cultural performances in the evening
 
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