Children on a construction site in Delhi (Laura Contrucci/DatelineDelhi.org)

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Canada funds plan to care for India’s 6m construction-site kids

29 April 2015 | By Rod Sweet | 1 Comment

As many as 6 million children of migrant workers in India grow up on construction sites deprived of basic care and education, so the Canadian government has decided to help fund an ambitious daycare programme.

Canada will invest CAN$650,000 in the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Mobile Crèches, an amount that will be matched by Indian corporations and construction companies to create a new CAN$1.3m fund.

The cash will allow the Indian NGO to dramatically scale up the work it has been doing for the past 45 years. 

Dirty and dangerous

Construction is India’s second largest industry after farming, and it employs 30 million workers, of whom more than 80% are unskilled, according to Mobile Crèches.

Women make up 25% of those unskilled workers, the NGO says, and many live below the poverty line. 

Mobile Crèches believes that as many as 6 million children are living on dirty, dangerous construction sites, cared for in a haphazard way and invisible to government and the local community. 

The NGO says they lack adequate healthcare, nutrition, access to breastfeeding, basic stimulation and nurturing.  

Scaling up

Mobile Crèches works with construction companies to provide childcare for children up to the age of six. 

Canada’s donor agency, Grand Challenges Canada, says the new cash will allow Mobile Crèches to build a whole new management framework, and scale up its operations by training other NGOs to deliver the childcare program it has been running for 45 years.

The aim is to provide a safe environment, nutritious meals, opportunities to play and learn, and access to health services including immunisation and growth monitoring.

The funding was announced during a visit to Canada by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month.

It’s part of a bigger, $2.5m package supporting health innovation in India.

Photograph: Children on a construction site in Delhi (Laura Contrucci/Dateline Deli)