Q1: What is the MC need to BE ?
A1: There are 60 million children under 6 years, living in poverty in India - at construction sites, on the streets, in the slums. Their parents are part of the informal labor force, working for a daily wage, without any benefits from employers or social security from the state. The families have no access to quality healthcare, childcare and education. The children, in their most foundational years, suffer neglect, abuse and deprivation from the essentials of developmental care. MC initiated an intervention in the lives of children - in the most vulnerable early years - of migrant workers from the lowest economic rungs, working in a non-compliant industry, at a time when nobody understood the overlapping concerns of children, women and workers. MC developed a comprehensive model for holistic child care in the life of a young child in the form of day care centres at construction sites, urban slums and resettlement colonies.
Q2: Why the name "Mobile Creches" ?
A2: Mobile Creches was born on a construction site for the children of migrant workers. Mobile Creches would set up a crèche-cum-daycare centre on the building site so the mothers could safely leave their children and go to work. When the building neared completion, the workers moved on and so did the centre. Hence, “Mobile Creches”!
Q3: How is Mobile Creches different from other organizations working with underprivileged children in India ?
A3: We are a pioneer in Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD). What sets us apart is our focus on young children, especially those under three years, through a rights based lens. We follow a multi-pronged approach from bottom to top, with interventions at various levels:
Providing/ensuring childcare servicesat construction sites and in the slums
Building awareness in the community on importance of ECD, the need for enhanced childcare practices at home, access andentitlementto state services, and enlisting their participation tomonitor and oversee quality of government child care services
Training other NGOs, staff of state-run facilities and community women, in skills, knowledge and management of ECD centres/crèches
Sensitizing builders/contractors to children’s issues and persuading them to take greater ownership and walk the talk with us and bring changes in their policies for employee welfare
Advocating with the government on issues of policy/law making, program design, and planning and implementation for young children
Q4: Why work with the Migrant Child where the duration of contact is so short ?
A4: Mobile Creches works with this group precisely for that reason: these children are the most vulnerable because of the constant movement of their parents and the most invisible because government programmes cater, largely, to "settled" populations. Mobile Creches provides a window of opportunity to the migrant child – as well as ‘proof of concept’ – to break the cycle of malnutrition, poor learning and no skills. Involving parents through our outreach programmes and working with employers and governments to create an enabling environment ensures that impact lasts beyond our intervention.
Q5: How is your programme in the slums and resettlement colonies different from that on construction sites ?
A5:In the slums of Delhi Mobile Creches’ strategies include: working directly with families; building youth/women’s groups; linking communities to state services; training women in childcare, so they can run their own crèches in community spaces.
Q6: How does MC promote Early Childhood Development (ECD) through advocacy ?
A6: The objective of MC’sAdvocacyis to universalize quality ECD programmes for children in India. MC seeks to achieve this through three strategies:
Engaging with Government agencies at the Central level – in partnership with networks, NGOs, and academia – to influence law-policy-programmes that promote ECD
Engaging with the Governments at the State level for effective implementation of programmes, capacity building of human resource and model building for better systems and quality
Engaging with communities at the grass root to build their awareness of, and access to, state services, and catalyse their participation in the change process
Q7: What are the major achievements of MC advocacy, over the last 45 years ?
Five milestones where MC advocacy played a substantive role in making change are:
Creche Scheme, a first – The Creche Scheme for Working and Ailing Mothers, 1979, was the first to recognise the need for crèches, outside of a factory/mines/plantation setting. It was revived later as the Rajiv Gandhi Creche Scheme.
National/local networks – MC co-founded the Forum for Creche and Childcare Services (FORCES), a national network, in 1989. After the early, strong leadership at the national level, MC has been shepherding the Delhi chapter.
Laws – MC strengthened the hands of voices from the informal sector to bring about the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996, with a clear provision for crèches.
Programmes – MC’s crèche agenda found a place in the government’s pronouncements, in 2012, on the restructured ICDS to convert 5% Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) to AWC-cum-creches.
Policy – MC led from the front in providing inputs to the formulation of the National ECCD Policy, 2013, to ensure a holistic and comprehensive approach and content.
Q8: What is the outreach of Mobile Creches ?
A8: On an average, we reach out to 14,000 children in an year: 2/3rds at day care centres at construction sites in Delhi (NCR) and 1/3rd through our community and family based interventions in the urban slums of Delhi.
Q9: What is the organizational structure, and how many people work for Mobile Creches ?
A9: Mobile Creches has a General Body (GB) with 41members where membership is by invitation. Members of the GB meet once a year to discuss statutory matters and future directions and once every three years, to elect members of the Governing Council (GC, the Board). The GC meets at least thrice a year to deliberate on vision-mission, policy, strategy and the financial health of the organisation. The Advisory Committees provide guidance on critical issues in HR, resource mobilisation audit and accounts, and finance. The Chief Executive functions with her team, comprising departmental heads, office based management and field based supervisory staff and field cadres. The registered office at Delhi employs 150 people who work to perform multiple functions of the organisation.
Q10: Are volunteers a big part of the Mobile Creches programme ?
A10: Mobile Creches has a great tradition in volunteering and the role of volunteers continues to be critical, though more limited, in recent years. Student and corporate volunteering has picked up and friends from abroad are a growing stream. Every volunteer opens a window to the outside world: they bring in ideas and expertise, give us a glimpse of what's out there and keep us on our toes. We could not have done it alone.
Q11: Where does the money come from ?
A11: Our Annual Budget, today, is more than Rs 6 crores. In 2013-14 our funds came from a variety of sources: 32% from the Corporate Sector (including corporate foundations), 30 % from Institutional Donors, 14% from Contractors and Builders, 15% from bank interest, 6% from Mobile Creches sources, 2% from Individuals and 1% from the Government.
Q12: How is the money spent ?
A12: In 2013-14 we spent 61% on Field Programme (more than 4/5th on daycare at construction sites and the rest on the urban slum interventions), 16% on Advocacy and Training, 11% on Administration, 5% on Resource Mobilisation and 7% on Organisational Development.