In 2016 the Hadapsar crèche continued to operate successfully, in a new site in the district of Hadaspar called Gosavi Vasti. In 2016 it cared for 29 children, in 2017 it will be 33. All of these children are from extremely poor backgrounds, mainly the children of migrants from other parts of Maharashtra, driven to Pune by drought, food insecurity and the search for work. In 2016 the south east of the state were drought affected, with some areas relying on water supplied via special trains.
Some of these migrants are dalits, but not all. The children are aged between 2.5 and 6 years. (School in Maharashtra starts at 6.) The teacher is Mrs Chhaya Kate and the name of her assistant, who is a cook, is Sushma Chavan. Together, they care for the children.
The crèche is open from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm from Monday to Saturday, thus providing the children’s parents child care. This increases the parents’ ability to earn and the children’s capacity to learn. The crèche teacher takes prayer, and teaches about
songs, counting, animals, birds, trees and concepts such as week days and months. She uses a black slate on which children write numbers, letters, and some English songs. The children also learn the English alphabet.
Jeevak also organizes a nutritious food awareness program for the children and their parents, discussing the importance of health, nutritious food available in the home are, how it should be prepared, information about green gram (mung beans), how to make them tasty and how it is useful for health development. This is also a chance to receive suggestions from the mothers regarding the crèche. There are also discussions of hygiene and health. The parents are happy to hear about their children’s progress, and there is a very high participation rate (almost 100%).
Nutritious food is prepared for each meeting and is given to the parents as well as the children, helping mothers to learn new dishes, which they can easily prepare in their own home; the ingredients are usually available in every house hold. We also distributed slippers (thongs) to the children; it is helpful to the students.
In the memory of Susan we organized sewing classes for interested women. 20 women have taken benefits of this course, and there is demand for other vocational courses including Henna Mehendi on Palm, sewing class and Beauty Parlour. All the activities of the Hadapsar crèche awareness program are running successfully.