The Govindpuri Creche

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Number of children

12 girls 17 boys

Project Cost

₹ 40 000; US$ 600; 420 £

Though the children of India have gained the constitutional right to education, pre-schoolers are still to be included in the free education programme. Even the long awaited Right to Education Act failed to address the situations and covers only children between the ages of 6 and 14.

Experience shows that slum toddlers do not lead a privileged life in the arms of caring parents. They are often left to their own device and even used as child labour.Some are physically abused, tied to charpoys while their mothers go to work. Others are left to uncaring elders and learn aggressive behaviour and bad language. By the time they reach school, they are unsocial difficult children who find it extremely difficult to adjust to a set pattern and routine. Our early intervention programme is above all aimed at giving toddlers and pre-schoolers the right to babyhood in a safe environment.

Access to toys, games and other stimulating activities enable the child to develop required skills. Social skills have to be learnt at an early stage. Our early intervention programme lays emphasis on teaching toddlers how to play together, share and take the first step towards living together.

Our early education programmes was one of the first programmes we launched way back in 2002. Over the years it has known many mutations and changes often due to ground realities.

In late 2011 we felt the need to reinvent our early education programme. Many reasons compelled us to do so. First and foremost a financial crunch compelled us to give up the rented premisses that housed our prep class. However the main reason to merge our prep and creche was quite different. The location of our early education programme in a lower middle class area meant that many middle class families had begun sending their children to us. This was because of the reputation we had gained over the years and the fact that there were no charges. This entailed a covert change in the social profile of these classes, something that went against the very spirit of project why. Moreover once these children had 'graduated' from our early education programme, they were sent to private schools and lost to us. This was a wakeup call.

We knew we had to make some drastic changes and the loss of the rented building was most opportune. After much thought and brainstorming we realised that the most deprived children were from our Okhla centre where there were no facilities for young children as the area is truly Godforsaken with no NGOs, let alone private creches. We had often thought of starting a creche but never could due to the non availability of water in the area. This was the ideal time to start a creche for those children. It only meant providing transport to and fro. This was the golden opportunity we were waiting for.

After a quick survey, 30 children between the ages of 2 to 4 were identified and our creche opened its doors. It did not take us long to realise that our decision had been the right one as the children were not only from very poor homes but also children who spent their day in unsafe surroundings with no care. Today they are taking their first steps into a new world: childhood. They are discovering toys and games, music and dance; learning to hold a pencil and drawing their very first hesitant line; learning new words and above all spending their day in a safe and happy environment.

Once they are ready for school, we will help them get admitted in a local school and they will be able to join our after school support programme in Okhla. A new batch of children will then take their places.


The Children


Seema Mamta