Open forum on crèches, June 2008

The purpose of this forum was to draw attention to crèches, a crucial entitlement of the young child and her working parents, and to learn about organisations that have stepped in to make a difference.

Crèches are typically centres that provide day care and preschool education to young children. As of now they are severely inadequate both in number and quality.

The following speakers shared their perspective and work related to crèches:

Dr Archana Mehendale, independent researcher

Dr Mehendale shared her understanding of the statutes and schemes available for crèches and the different types of crèches we have. She pointed out the lacunae in the system, illuminated some of the grey areas in our understanding of crèches and their role and focussed on the larger questions we need to address on the way ahead.

Nomita Chandy, ASHRAYA

ASHRAYA has been running crèches at construction sites for many years now. Ms Chandy shared her field experience, described ASHRAYA’s model of site crèches and spoke of the challenges and successes of working with builders and parents of a migrant community.

Benson Isaac, SAMVADA

SAMVADA has partnered with KSCCW in refining their training programme, so that Bal Sevikas, or crèche workers, can begin to see themselves as women entrepreneurs, and crèches as a right. SAMVADA is interested in promoting crèches as an entitlement for women and children. To start with, they have carried out a needs assessment of 300 women in the garment industry. Benson Isaac shared their experience of this study and spoke about interfacing with the corporate sector to ensure the mandatory implementation of crèches.

Nina Nayak, Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW)

KSCCW has been involved with policy, crèche worker training and the running of crèches for many years. Ms Nayak shared with the forum her experience of collaborating with the government. She spoke of government’s plans to develop a regulatory framework and the need for citizens’ participation in formulating a policy for crèches.


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