In India, construction is the biggest source of employment for nomadic or migrant workers; 35 million people work under these conditions, wandering from town to town and from job to job in search for work and a salary that is usually insignificant.
The children of these workers -estimated at about 30 million across the country- are undoubtedly the most vulnerable group: they roam the streets adjacent to the construction sites or play among the rubble, and are exposed to multiple hazards. They find it difficult to enroll in conventional schools because they often do not speak the local language and because they remain in each place for a limited time. Therefore, they begin to work in construction at an early age or wander aimlessly, contributing to increasing rates of child labor and the intensification of the Street Children phenomenon.
Asha-Kiran makes agreements with construction companies in the city, whereby they commit to allow and facilitate the opening of Day Care Centers within the construction grounds for the sons and daughters of their workers. In each Center, we work with approximately 40 children under 16 and their families.
The Day Care Centers for Migrant Children allow them to:
- have access to an environment of daily protection from the dangers of the surroundings they live in
- start non-formal education processes in the case of non-school-going children
- access curative, preventive and rehabilitative health care
- receive early childhood care (children under 5)
- enjoy a complete meal and snacks daily.
The testimony of a couple who works in construction.
Kamla: “Now I’m working here, but used to work in another building further away. At the other place, no one took care of my son while I worked. I work from 9 in the morning chopping gravel and taking it where they tell me to. I can’t be distracted. My son likes to be at the Center. We know that as long as he’s there, he’s protected.”
Kirstantal: “Besides, he’s learning things; every day something new. That’s much more satisfying then to see him wandering from one place to another. It’s very dangerous for him to be running around the construction site all day, and we can’t take look after him while we work.”