Program 5

Day care for survival and protection

These are daycare centres with a high rate of migration, due to which the number of children varies from one week to another; there are fewer numbers of children with a wide range of age-groups at the centres. TMCP ensures that every child coming to this daycare (even if for a few days, receives childcare that ensures a safe, protective, hygienic, and nurturing environment.

The hub of all activity is the daycare centre, built by the developer just next to the labour camp at the construction site. It has brick walls with a tin roof, toilet facility, kitchen & storage space and space for outdoor activities.

By 9:30 a.m. the parents arrive to leave their children for the day.

The Creche is for babies below 3 years – here they will feed on milk and cereal, and rest in the safe hands of the childcare worker, while their mothers are at work.

Our toddlers from 3 to 6 years keep busy at the balwadi playing with pebbles, blocks, strings, and beads, in the sand-box or the doll’s house. They learn as they engage in free play and eagerly sit down in a communication circle till 10:30 a.m.

10.30 am is time for a nutritious snack. Children receive boiled eggs, fruits, and rajgira/groundnut laddoos twice a week. This snack is given along with a glass of milk daily.

The older brothers and sisters are happy to attend the non-formal education (NFE) group. It helps relieve them of their babysitting chores. Playing with alphabets and numbers, art-craft and drama is something they look forward to. Children who attend the afternoon school outside the centre finish their studying in the morning.

Lactating mothers start coming in to nurse their infant babies at around 11.30 am. These women, along with other pregnant women from the community, receive nutritious snacks once a day. They chat with the centre staff during this time and also engage in play activities with other children.

It’s 12.30! Lunchtime! Everyone tucks into delicious hot meals (gruel of rice, lentils, and vegetables, soya, etc.) cooked by the Balpalikas themselves. The nutrition menu at the daycare centres has been planned to cater to 60% of children’s daily requirements and provides a healthy combination of various tastes and textures.

While the children nap in the afternoon, the staff catch up on work. Notes are made, meetings planned, and reminders chalked out for follow-ups of various interventions provided and other important tasks.

Refreshed from a nap the children settle down on the mats around low tables to focus on the afternoon activity of the day – painting, paper folding, and pasting, clay work, dance drama, games – depending on the weekly plan. School-going children return to the centre by this time. They relax for some time and then sit down to complete their homework and revise their lessons of the day.

Doctors visit the centres once a week and attend to sick children and pregnant mothers. Prescribed medicines / supplementary diet food is provided at the creche.

Around 5.00 pm, a delicious snack of sprouted lentils, peanut and jaggery/banana is given and they are off.

All is quiet till 9:30 the next morning!

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