Posts which have been tagged with: creche.

Mathur

Mathur is a somewhat isolated village 20kms north of Pondicherry, comprised of about 370 families and a total population of 1200. It is a multi-caste village, divided into three distinct segments. Basic infrastructure is rudimentary: there is one water point for the entire village and one light bulb per hut.

The village is close to Arul Ashram, run by the Brothers of St. John (Communauté des Frères de St Jean). Father Dominic, a long-time friend and associate of Sharana’s, initiated work in Mathur, building a center for adolescents with AIDS. The Belgian organization, “A Way with You,” which has also worked for many years jointly with Arul Ashram and Sharana, also built a community center that houses an evening school. Sharana began working in Mathur in 2008. Sharana’s sponsorship work is concentrated in the first of two Dalit segments of the village, while working jointly with Arul Ashram and AWWY in the provision of health, social, and educational programs for the village as a whole.

Before Sharana’s intervention, only 20% of Mathur children attended school. Today, Sharana’s collective sponsorship program, allows 400 children to continue their education. Sharana provides school uniforms, school bags, and books in addition to assistance with school fees. The children also benefit from nutrition programs, including spirulina food supplements at snack times.

Rajkala and Vetri have worked jointly to identify village needs, following from Sharana’s firm belief that social actions can only be successful if all beneficiaries are fully involved in decision-making processes. Progress in Mathur has been sometimes difficult and slow, owing largely to the varied economic statuses of Mathur residents, the presence of entrenched social and caste hierarchies, and to the size of the village—which is the largest Sharana has worked in to date.

For smaller children, Sharana built a nursery, which frees older children from childcare responsibilities. The building includes a small room, a kitchen and toilets, as well as spaces that can be used for community meetings. The nursery employs two village women, and hosts 20 children every day. A snack and meals are distributed daily, as in Angalakuppam.

Crèche


Early childhood care is an integral part of basic education. It satisfies the early learning needs of young children, emphasizes that learning happens via play and exploration, not merely via rote study, and focuses on establishing each individual child’s right to a secure, happy education from a young age.

As part of the crèche program, Sharana trains women from the local community to become teachers and to serve as attendants or teachers’ aides. Care is taken to provide children with meaningful activities using several indigenous material, toys, puppets, etc. Thanks to Chemin d’enfances (France), the “Ludo mobile” project brings a range of developmentally appropriate toys and games to crèche children. Volunteers bring books, music, and puzzles as opportunities arise. These activities help crèche children to promote their motor, cognitive, and social skills.

To fulfill children’s nutritional needs, a well balanced meal is provided, along with nutritional supplements and snacks. The children receive regular healthcare at the dispensary. Regular meetings are conducted with the mothers of crèche children.