Step 1 MMC staff identifies new construction sites by enquiring with associates of the builders that host current day care centres, executives of construction companies with whom MMC has worked in the past, and government officials at the local municipal ward offices. MMC also learns of new construction sites through newspaper advertisements and articles, or by receiving references from friends, donors, and staff.
Step 2 Having identified construction sites which might have children living on them who need care, MMC Programme Officers (POs) undertake field surveys to determine whether there are at least 25 children living on a particular site, the minimum number that MMC has determined makes a centre cost-effective.
Step 3 MMC staff members then meet the construction company authorities, (henceforth referred to as Builders), in order to gauge their willingness to support the establishment of a crèche on their site.
Step 4 Finally, if a builder expresses interest in permitting MMC to setup a day care for children living on his construction site,the guidelines for space and location are laid out, along with an estimated timeline, which is negotiated between the builder and MMC.
Step 5 While setting up the centre at a particular location, the approximate duration of the construction project is communicated to MMC by the builder. MMC approaches the builder 6 months prior to the end of the initial project timeline to review if there have been any alterations in the timeline. MMC is in constant communication with the builders during the construction of the centre, and if there are any delays or problems that come up, we extend our own timeframe for the operation of the concerned centre.
Step 6 As construction work nears completion, the number of children on the site reduces to a large extent, as their families move out in search of work. MMC is left with no option but to close the centre and moving on. Once MMC decides to close a centre, the parents and community members are informed of the impending centre closure.
MMC is "mobile" in that everything inside of our centres can be easily packed up and transferred from a centre that closes, to a new centre. We move from one construction site to another just like our community.
The goals of the education programme vary based on the age of the children, but they all share the core aim of providing children with the tools to become effective citizens.
Creche: For the creche babies, aged 0-3 years, the primary goal is to create a stimulating environment that nurtures motor, cognitive, social, emotional and physical growth.
Balwadi: Children aged 3-5 years are part of the pre-primary (balwadi) programme, which focuses on school preparedness and skill development.
After school support: In the primary classroom, for children aged 6-14 years, teachers focus on the development of language and mathematics skills. Ideally, students from the primary classrooms will gain the skills necessary to be mainstreamed and enrolled in municipal schools.
Methods: Teachers at MMC centres employ a variety of teaching tools in the different classrooms to achieve their educational objectives, constantly appraising and re-evaluating the effectiveness of these methods. Across all classrooms, teachers engage the children with questions, discussions, and positive feedback.
Outings & Exposure Visits: Children also engage in educational outings and exposure visits around the city all through the year to supplement their classroom experience.
Child to Child: MMC engages students in innovative programme to build their leadership and confidence. The Child to Child Programme is one such example, where children from MMC centres visit affluent neighbouring schools in Mumbai, form friendships and share their skills with the school children and vice versa.
We work to improve the children's nutritional health with a carefully designed daily diet. Children of different ages receive different types and quantities of foods based on their specific physical needs. We provide breakfast, mid-morning snacks, lunch and an evening snack to all of our students. Each child also takes multivitamins and calcium supplements, as they are often deficient in these essential nutrients. Additionally, for those children who are malnourished we provide recommended foods that are high in calories and protein as prescribed by the doctor. We aim to cover the major food groups and add variety to the daily diet through our nutrition programme.
Our children love the hot bowl of porridge freshly prepared at the centres each morning. It is made of milk, sugar and semolina or finger millets alternatively.
Mid Morning Snacks
Fruits rich with vitamins and eggs rich with protein are alternately on the menu during mid morning for all our children.
A tasty lunch is prepared at the centres. The menu includes essential ingredients like rice, lentils, bulgar wheat, vegetables, sprouts, soya chunks, etc. rich with nutrients, proteins and vitamins.
It's late afternoon and our children await the delicious snack of sprouts or groundnuts-jaggery served by our teachers, while for the little ones in our creche classroom, it is a glass of hot milk.
We approach health care on construction sites from many directions in order to create as comprehensive a health programme as is possible. Doctors make weekly visits to the sites to monitor the children's health, charting their weight, growth, and overall health. We organize special health camps for eye and dental checkups and frequently screen for common illnesses among children in order to ensure that they receive the necessary care. We work to connect parents with local healthcare facilities to organize monthly immunizations, as well as to familiarize them with the available healthcare options in their area. In certain cases, if a child needs surgery or intensive medical care, MMC helps to arrange and pay for those procedures. On the construction sites, we emphasize the importance of hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer in all of our centres. This not only keeps germs from spreading amongst the children, but also encourages healthy personal hygiene habits. Centres are swept thrice daily to maintain cleanliness, while regular mopping and the use of disinfectants also serve to keep our centres as healthy spaces for the children. Our hygiene programme also includes bathing and powdering the crèche babies each morning before giving them a clean uniform to wear. Furthermore, our advocacy and community work often addresses health issues that are relevant to those living on construction sites. These may include such topics as breastfeeding, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and prevention of common childhood illnesses. By introducing healthy habits in the day care centres in concurrence with informational sessions and doctor visits, we make healthcare a top priority on construction sites in Mumbai.