Despite economic growth in the world's second-largest country, it is India's informal economy that is absorbing the influx of migrants from rural communities into its biggest cities. This is especially true within the construction industry, where rapid urbanisation has put pressure on inadequate infrastructure, and tens of thousands of unemployed women now seek work on urban construction sites.
It is estimated that more than 10 million children accompany their mothers to jobs at construction sites in India; 300,000 in Delhi alone. Without access to healthcare, education or protection from the unsafe conditions, these children are often left malnourished and neglected, with children under six-years-old particularly vulnerable.
Mobile Creches operates programmes for migrant workers' children at construction sites in Delhi, establishing and running childcare facilities themselves but also supporting property developers and building companies in doing the same.
The organisation also works in the city's slums to raise awareness of children’s issues amongst youth and women's groups, as well as advocating for policy change and larger government budget allocations to improve nutrition and health amongst children under six-years-old.
In the last three years, the organisation has reached out to almost 14,000 children in construction sites across Delhi, improving their nutrition and water and sanitation access. The number of children admitted to formal schools increased by more than 10% (to a 33% enrolment rate).
Within its urban slum interventions, Mobile Creches has seen birth registrations increase to 80%, two-thirds of children have experienced long-term nutrition improvements and families' access to state services has risen from 68% to 99%.
Mobile Creches has been instrumental in bringing about much-needed changes in government policies and programmes relating to Early Child Care and Development for migrant children and those under six-years-old.
Photos: Suchit Nanda / Majority World