Project Lead(s): Mridula Bajaj
The Indian construction industry is the second largest employer after agriculture and employs 30 million workers, of which two thirds are unskilled and over half live below the poverty line. 3 million children of migrant workers on construction sites are lacking services that provide access to adequate healthcare, nutrition, safe care, access to breastfeeding and basic stimulation and nurturing. These children end up on construction sites in India, invisible to businesses and governments. Maternity support and crèches for young children barely exist, despite a clear need for childcare support. Children pay a heavy price: unsafe and unhygienic surroundings; lack of physical care, emotional nurture or mental stimulation; incomplete immunizations; no exclusive breastfeeding; exposure to water borne diseases; inadequate nutrition; disrupted schooling.
Mobile Crèches is an Indian NGO that works with construction companies to create the infrastructure and employment conditions needed to establish crèches (early childcare for children 0-6)that provide a safe, nurturing environment, nutritious meals, opportunities to play and learn, and access to health services including immunization and growth monitoring.
Grand Challenges Canada is investing $650,000 in the organization Mobile Crèches, an amount that is matched by other corporates and construction companies. The investment ($1.3 million in total) will enable Mobile Crèches to scale-up their approach to improving child development by training NGOs to deliver the well-established free holistic childcare program for young children of migrant construction workers, a program Mobile Crèches has been running for 45 years.
Being an innovative tripartite engagement of construction companies, NGOs and Mobile Crèches, the primary focus of the project will be building an entire management framework to run these crèches, in partnership with current and new builder partners, and service-providing NGOs, and transferring the business operations.