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  NGOs >> Mobile Creches

Abbas Building, 1st floor,
Mereweather Road, Colaba,
Mumbai 400 001.
Tel. : 22020869
e-mail : 


A. Holistic Development and Education 
B. Health, Hygiene and Nutrition Programme
C. Community Outreach
D. Training
E. Networking and Advocacy
F. Research and Documentation
G. Human Resource


The construction industry is the single largest employer of migrant labourers, the poorest of the poor, in Indian cities. Approximately 35 million men and women work in this sector and they are entirely unorganised. Moving wherever they can earn an income, most migrant labourers are illiterate and only able to speak their own language. Their lives are characterised by insecurity of wages, dangerous working conditions, and lack of access to any kind of welfare. The daily wages of a woman construction worker are about Rs. 60 (or $1.20).
The children incuding infants of these workers – estimated to be around 54 million – are even more vulnerable. Because of their family’s extreme poverty and also since their parents are constantly working – sometimes mothers go back to work a few hours after delivery – they are left to fend for themselves. They suffer from malnutrition, under nourishment, accidents, and innumerable health problems. They are marginalized from formal schooling, day-care centres or any sort of support system. It is estimated the government services barely reach 5% of this population. 

Mobile Crèches was founded in 1969 in Delhi on the belief that every child has the fundamental right to security, education, health care and protection. Running day care centres on construction sites for the past 33 years, Mobile Crèches has run over 450 centres in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune and reached out to over 3,00,000 children. It has developed a comprehensive day care service programme that meets children’s emotional, physical, cognitive and social development needs. It has pioneered the first Early Child Care Education (ECCE) programme for migrant workers children in this country. 

In a country where the economic and political situations force millions of workers into extremely vulnerable positions, and leave their children even more helpless, Mobile Creches is the only organisation in India which provides such comprehensive day care centres.

Today in Mumbai, Mobile Crèches runs 18 centres – 16 on construction sites and 2 in slums (a map depicting the centres’ locations is attached). Every year we reache over 4000 children.


To provide comprehensive childcare and educational services for migrant workers’ children between the ages of 0-12 to ensure their healthy development and growth, and to provide a sustainable model of ECCE.

The Government of India spends 1% of its budget on Health and 2% on Education. Mobile Crèches (1999) Annual Report 


·  To run day care centres to ensure the cognitive, emotional, moral, physical and social development of migrant workers’  
   children between the ages 0-12

·  To provide systematic health, hygiene and nutrition programmes for this same age group.

·  To extend to other organisations (by means of workshops etc,) Mobile Crèches expertise in such activities as art, puppetry, etc which foster the child’s overall development. 

·  To develop and train a cadre of professionals able to provide effective childcare and related activities.

·  To educate and train communities of migrant labourers in childcare and other related issues and activities. 

·  To network and advocate with governments and other stakeholders to better the current national childcare strategy.

·  To research and document this process.


A.  Holistic Development and Education

Total Number of Children Reached (last 5 years)


This programme is divided into three parts, each especially tuned to meet the needs of different age groups.

a.   The Crèche provides a secure as well as a stimulating environment for children from birth to three years of age. Colourful mobiles, melodious songs, nutritious snacks and the feel of different textures provide a feast for the senses. Stringing beads and building blocks are the links and the foundation of their motor development.

b.   The Balwadi – The “pre-schoolers” are engaged in the process of learning through play, music, drama, puppets, stories and songs. Group play-activity around a low table or in the yard enhance their social/emotional as well as physical/motor development. This prepares them for school in more ways than one. Toys appropriate for this age group and attractive teaching-aids help them to “play and learn”.

c.   The Non-Formal Education (NFE) - The aim of the NFE programme is to give the child the basic literacy and numerically skills and also the information and knowledge that is relevant to his/her social situation. Also keeping in mind that the children have to enter the mainstream of education, we help to prepare them so that they can gain admission into municipal schools. In addition to academic assistance, we also provide financial aid when it is necessary.

Type of Programme

Average Number of children reached in last 5 years               








981 children have been                         enrolled


Gangaram Bomedi, 20 years, is one of the ex-students whom we are particularly proud of. His links with Mobile Creches began at the Vidyavihar construction site. From there he moved to the Vasant Vihar centre, Thane and finally to the Hiranandani Centre, Powai. Having had the benefit of continuous education with the same syllabus, despite constant moves, he was able to get into a municipal school. Avid for further education, he did some chores for the people living in the area, and used the money that he earned to enroll in some special courses. We helped him from our Scholarship Fund with the fees for these courses as well as for books and other educational material.

Having secured 78% in his SSC examination, Gangaram is now studying for a diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Mobile Creches is proud to continue to help him.

B. Health, Hygiene and Nutrition Programme

Total Number of Children Reached (last 5 years)


Mobile Crèches has a holistic and proactive approach to childcare. Its initiative covers wide-ranging needs with special emphasis on 

· Providing daily nutritious meals to children at its various centres
· Facilitating access to curative, preventative and rehabilitative care
· Creating health awareness among communities

Mobile Crèches’ staff work hard in an effort to ensure that every centre has the necessary infrastructure and an environment conducive to nurturing good health. The organisation provides health services, support and information, and makes the community aware of the need for maintaining good health. It focuses on the following activities: 

Type of Service or Support

Numbers reached in last 5 years



Pulse Polio Campaigns


Routine Dental and Health Check-ups


Hospital Referrals

29 Children and 65 Adults

Nutrition to lactating mothers


Special Diet


Vitamin A Dose


C. Mobile Crèches also links communities to government run Public Health Centres. 
We try to ensure that disabilities are identified and treated early.

Manoj Srihari, 10 Years, Jog Engineering Co. Centre, Mankhurd, Mumbai.

When our Staff noticed a reddish-white patch on Manoj’s face, they showed this to our centre doctor. After examining him as well as his family members, the doctor suspected that he had leprosy, and referred the family to ALERT INDIA, in Vashi, Navi Mumbai. The boy has now recovered after taking treatment for nearly six months. Early detection has saved him and his family a great deal of suffering and misery. 

The Mobile Crèches philosophy is that the family must be involved in the raising of a child. Thus, community outreach becomes a central focus in its comprehensive programmes. The objective is to provide parents with all the necessary knowledge and support to provide the maximum necessary care to their children.

Both men and women participate in our community meetings. They are exposed to a range of topics through a variety of communication media. These discussions are usually need-based and centre on the problems that are facing a community. These could be current issues of national importance, seasonal diseases or specific crises in the community, e.g. an accidental death at the construction site.

Over the last three decades, Mobile Crèches has developed the following community outreach programmes, which it finds are most effective:

a. Lokdoot or Folk Theatre - Groups of Mobile Crèches staff enact issue-related dramas making use of dance, music, mime and movement, puppets and other traditional folk forms. It is an extremely powerful medium of communication. Some of the topics covered by our Lok Doot group are Cancer, AIDS, Literacy, Cleanliness, and Family Planning.

b. Meetings for Community Members - These meetings are sometimes issue centred (e.g. TB awareness for men) and have been found to be a holistic way to address familial problems, which directly or indirectly affect the child. Regular monthly meetings with community women are held to ensure quality childcare even when these particular families move outside the purview of Mobile Creches.

D. Training

Total Number who have received Professional Training  (last 5 years)


One of Mobile Crèches’ main objectives is to constantly develop, pioneer and support the Early Childhood Care and Education programmes. Over the past thirty years, the organisation has gathered a tremendous amount of knowledge, skills and experience in comprehensive and effective quality childcare. This enormous resource base is one of its core competencies, and imparting training and education in this field is a significant part of Mobile Crèches’ strategy. 

Mobile Crèches runs two training programmes – 

a. Bal Palika Training Programme is a one-year diploma course for professional child-care It is affiliated to SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai. They require the trainees who get their diplomas to have passed the tenth standard. Those trainees who have not passed the tenth, receive a Mobile Creches Certificate after successfully completing their training.This programme comprises theory as well as fieldwork on current accepted approaches to childcare and development. Since its inception, this programme has trained over 400 people and assisted many of them in getting jobs in this field. 

b. Extension Training or need-based training modules are planned and implemented to cater to the specific needs of government and non-government organisations working in childcare.                                                                                                                 

Type of Organisation No. of Workshops Conducted No. of People Trained
NGOs 48 2010
Govt. agencies 4 144
Colleges  28 882
Schools  10 354
Others 5 97

E. Networking and Advocacy 

Maharashtra FORCES (Forum for Creche and Childcare Services), in collaboration with the Indian Association for Pre-school Education (IAPE), and the Maharashtra Bal Shikshan Parishad has initiated the formation of an autonomous body called the Board for Early Childhood Development to work on establishing and maintaining high quality standards. Mobile Creches, Mumbai is one of the core committee members and has played a key role in drafting its constitution. The board formed two groups - early childhood programmes and training in ECCE: Mobile Creches, Mumbai was a part of the Programme Group. These groups developed detailed procedures for regulation and accreditation of early childhood centres and training institutes respectively as well as for the minimum standards to be maintained by them. The two groups also worked on an evaluation scale for both. The reports prepared by the groups have been sent to experts across the country for their feedback. So Mobile Crèches’ strategy in this respect is not only to lobby for better child-care programmes, but also to provide adequate holistic support.

The BUILDING AND OTHER CONSTRUCTION WORKERS (REGULATIONOF EMPLOYMENT AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE) ACT, 1996 states in Section 35 (1) that if more than fifty female workers are employed, rooms should be provided for the use of their children. These rooms are supposed to be suitably large, well lit and ventilated, clean and sanitary and under the charge of women trained to care for young children. Builders find various lacunae to get around these requirements, and it has been our constant endeavour to persuade them to look after these children even when there are fewer employees. We remind them that a mother who is at ease about the welfare of her child is likely to be much more productive, and also appeal to their social conscience. Owing to limitations of resources, Mobile Creches cannot reach every construction site even when we know that there are children who need our services. The more enlightened builders are ready to co-operate with us to some extent. We try to maintain a continuous dialogue both with individual builders as well as with the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry to persuade them to undertake greater responsibility in this respect.

We also try and reach more children by encouraging women who have got some training in child care (in most cases, in our training programme) to set up small units under our supervision and guidance.

F. Research and Documentation

Mobile Crèches places considerable emphasis on documenting its experiences and processes. Two practices are especially emphasised:

a. Monthly Reporting Programme Officers provide monthly updates on their experiences in the field. These are regularly shared, discussed and used to reinforce and provide guidance for our work.

b. Innovative Teaching Methodologies “Prakalp” is the teaching methodology adopted at our centres. This is a theme-based methodology that has been successfully used in our programme for many years. A theme is chosen to form the basis of the entire education programme for a specific period of time, usually a month. The topic is integrated into all the activities planned for that period for all age groups at the centres. For eg: If the topic is “HOUSE” all the language, maths, stories, songs, art and craft activities will be related to "house". Every Prakalp topic and its applications are documented as a routine.

Our staff is constantly on the lookout for new methodologies, and attempts at improvement and development of those already in use.

Mobile Crèches has produced a status report Under the Shadow of the Scaffolding, and publishes comprehensive Annual Reports. All these are available in the office on request. Educational publications and cassettes compiled by Mobile Creches are also available.

Mobile Creches, Mumbai, is well known in the world of puppetry and the manuscript of a book on puppets is ready for publication. We are looking for some donor who could help us with this. We are developing material for publication on the Prakalp method so that it is available to more institutions working with young children. We are hoping to come out with Newsletters on a regular basis that will help us to be in touch with our donors and keep people informed about the kind of work Mobile Creches is doing. 

G. Human Resources

The staff at Mobile Creches are the pillars of our Programme. We have 100 staff members on roll (the organizational structure is enclosed). Apart from being specially trained in early childhood care and development, most of them have been with the organization for more than 20 years, building up an unmatched storehouse of experience. Their dedication and commitment to their cause have been largely responsible for the evolvement and development of the programme. 

We send them for workshops to hone their skills, and they are called upon from time to time to help train others in childcare.

They work from 8.45 a.m.- 4.30 p.m., usually travelling long distances to reach the construction sites which are often not easily accessible by public transport. Their job descriptions cover a wide spectrum of activities, each with its own burden of responsibility. 

The staff are responsible for the education of the children, developing teaching material, planning and recording educational processes, preparing and serving food, giving medicines and maintaining the follow up suggested by doctors, establishing rapport and maintaining regular contact with the parents. They are sometimes required to work in difficult conditions (though usually for a temporary period) such as lack of water or electricity in the centre, lack of space, leaking roofs during monsoons, etc. Despite expending a great deal of effort in teaching the children (most of whom have never been to any school before or do not understand Hindi or Marathi at all to begin with), they have to start afresh with renewed enthusiasm with a new lot when the old community suddenly migrates. When a centre is closed because the construction is complete, they often undertake to look for new centres and move all the equipment, including furniture to a new centre. In spite of working against such heavy odds, their level of commitment and dedication remains commendably high. 

The socio-economic situation in India today marginalises millions of construction workers' children from two absolutely fundamental human rights – protection and education Government services reach a bare 5% of a population, which is deeply vulnerable to extreme poverty and ill health. 

Mobile Crèches is an organisation that was formed with the special intention of filling in a very critical gap between institutional services and the reality on the ground. To date, there is no other organisation in India that has the depth of experience, skills and outreach that Mobile Crèches has with regard to this particular sector of the population It is the only organisation of its kind in the country. However, the proliferation of various organisations and the new emphasis on sustainability in this world has meant that service-delivery organisations are increasingly forced to fight to stay alive. The possibility that an organisation like Mobile Crèches would have to close down, because of financial constraints, is certain to have devastating consequences on the growth and development of thousands of children in the future. Denied any support whatsoever, they will sink further into economic, social and political vulnerability. 

Until the government of India can provide basic services for this most vulnerable section, Mobile Crèches is an absolutely essential organisation. 


Managing Committee
Executive Director
Programme Coordinators (2)
Assistant Programme Coordinators (6) 



Field Staff 
Programme Officers (11)
Supervisors (15) 
Teachers (26) 

Creche Workers (28)

Administrative Staff
Accountant (1)
 Supply Incharge (2)
Office Assistants (2)
Helpers (3)

Driver (1)


At present Mobile Crèches depends on government grants, funding from other agencies, and donations from individuals. More and more voluntary organisations are tapping the same sources; costs are rising alarmingly; and with the general recessional tendencies prevailing, many of our old donors are now finding it difficult to help us. Mobile Crèches needs help urgently to continue the work it does for this underprivileged and deprived segment of society, a segment that does not come under the preview of the government or any other organisation.

1. The source of funds over the years to date include the following: 

N.B.* denotes those who have helped at some point in the past but are not giving any support now.

CSWB (Central Social Welfare Board)  Concern India Foundation
*Sheepdrove Trust *CRY 
*ENRON *Misereor, Germany
*BMC (Through IPP V Project)  *SOSVA (Through PVOH Project)
*Colgate Palmolive  *Booz, Allen & Hamilton
British Deputy High Commission HDFC
HSBC Securities K.e.V. Bangalore, Germany
*Sir Dorabji Tata Trust *Ratan Tata Trust
*Terre des Hommes  *Bayer (India) Pvt.Ltd.
Various Charitable Trusts  Contractors’ contribution
Donations from Corporates and Individuals