Creche for migrant workers’ kids a mesh of cultures
Parents find the creche a blessing. Volunteers visited the houses of migrant workers to introduce the facility.
PERUMBAVOOR: A splash of colours and Hindi and English alphabets welcome visitors to what is perhaps India’s first creche for children of migrant workers in Vengola, a nondescript village near Perumbavoor. Sugandi, a Bihar native who leaves her daughters at the three-room facility early morning when she goes to work at the plywood factory in nearby Alapara, is happy that she can work without worrying about her girls.
The new facility, funded by the local panchayat with the cooperation of the district administration, the department of women and child welfare, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Synthite, and the Sawmill and Plywood Manufacturers Association (Sopma), is an attempt to make life easier for young migrant parents trying to make both ends meet in Perumbavoor, considered a hub for migrants in the state.
The creche was launched following the sexual assault and brutal murder of a five-year-old migrant girl in Aluva last month. “We have to ensure the safety of migrant children. We are planning to expand the facility to other areas of the panchayat,” Shihab Pallikkal, president of Vengola grama panchayat, told TNIE.
Kushi Kumari from Bihar, Mariam Beevi from Assam, Roshmi from Nepal, and 16 other children aged one to six play and learn together at this facility. They are guided by four teachers. The kids do not even share a language, yet they mingle with each other easily. “It’s a confluence of many cultures. None of them know Malayalam. I was in Odisha. So I communicate with them in Hindi,” says Minimol O S, a teacher at the creche.
Parents find the creche a blessing. Volunteers visited the houses of migrant workers to introduce the facility. “We had a good response. Parents were relieved. Many of them used to leave their kids at home while going to work. Only a few who work at plywood units took their children with them,” said Minimol. The number of admissions is increasing by the day.
The creche opens at 7am. The panchayat has arranged a van to transport the children. Besides Minimol, Sobha Thankappan, Divya Selvaraj and Salma Noushad take care of the children, teach them songs and provide them with food.
The initiative should reach everyone. All migrant labourers should benefit from it, the teachers say. “Many children are still left at home. We only have details of those who work at plywood units. Many labourers who work at construction sites and hotels do not even know about the facility. They should also benefit from it, said Anwar Kudily, president of Sopma.