THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Anitha C to quit her job as a beautician post her second delivery and a three year rest period, never in her wildest dreams did she think she will start working again, let alone indulge in a work that demanded her to be at the beck and call of tiny tots. But the job as a child care takerr brings such joy, that she emphasises being a nanny is the best job in the world. “We are the ones who see them take their first walk or listen to them concoct up their first word. They all address us as 'amma' which is overwhelming,” says Anitha, who works as a child care taker at the Child Care Hub (CC-Hub), a day care centre in Technopark. And it is this commitment by women that has helped the CC-Hub earn the runner up award at the 'Stories of Change' -Case Study Challenge instituted by the Azim Premji Institute for the year of 2018-2019.
The CC-Hub was started in 2015 by NGO Empowering Women in IT (eWIT). Kudumbashree women were roped in for the programme and were selected after providing training in child care. A total of ten women child care providers take care of the babies and children between the ages of 6 months and three and a half years. For the women, their lives have transformed, having undergone a total overhaul. They all tell tales of how they gained independence, learned to ride two-wheelers, acquired two-wheelers, set up homes and how embracing financial independence changed their lives. “I never thought I would start working. I could even help build our home,” says Sindhu M, a child caregiver belonging to Valiya Veli.
The CC-Hub has grown, to the extent that women start making bookings for their child when they are just pregnant.
The idea behind the daycare centre was to help the women professionals so they can avoid taking career breaks. “It is seen that after their college, both women and men start their career on an equal footing. But over time, it changes. It is when they approach the mid-twenties that they get overseas assignment or promotion which most women opt out of, giving preference to family over their careers. So if in the entry-level category, 40 per cent female presence is observed here in Technopark, as we move into the top rungs, women presence is less, sometimes dwindling to just two per cent. This had to change,” says Radhika Viswanathan, vice-president, eWIT. “Having a childcare facility close to their offices will ensure that the women could join after the six-month maternity leave,” she adds. The women are part of the Kudumbasree micro-enterprise unit and as many as 30 children are accommodated in the facility which is open from 8.30 am to 8 pm.
After School Care centre to be opened
Soon the IT professionals will have their children close by after school hours. The children from the age of 3 and a half years to 12 years will be accommodated after school hours as a new care centre opens up in Technopark. The success of CC-Hub has further emboldened eWIT in their attempts of expanding the facility by offering a daycare centre along with after-school support. “The facility will come up in the Technopark Phase 3 and will be up and running at a 3000 sq ft space in six months. Sixty children each will be accommodated in each facility,” says Radhika Viswanathan. “The facility will have a learning centre. It will also be used as a space to provide extracurricular sessions as well,” she adds. This learning centre will also be used during weekends to upskill the wards of the support staff of Technopark where the focus will be on developing the technical know-how and the communication skills of the students.