When Shenaz* got the opportunity to work as house-help, she had no option but to tie her one and a half year old daughter Fatima to the bedpost and lock her in the house to go to work.
In the absence of a crèche and no family members to look after her child, like so many others in M East Ward, Shenaz’s livelihood potential was significantly compromised when she had a child. Apnalaya came to know of this situation during one of the home visits.
And so in 2014, Apnalaya started Community Childcare Centres (CCC) – a unique model to empower mothers to work, keep children safe in their absence and also generate opportunities for employment in the community.
30-year-old Reshmi Imran is one of the women who runs a CCC, through which she supports her family and other mothers in the area.
“I heard about the CCC and immediately signed up to start one in my house,” she said. Reshmi, along with 89 other women look after 214 children at their CCCs. Through their efforts, 137 mothers like Shenaz can leave their homes for work, secure in the knowledge that their children are well looked after and learning at the CCCs. As a result, these women earn an average of Rs. 6000 per month.
Furthermore, women who run the CCCs are the eyes and ears of Apnalaya in the community. They have been trained by Apnalaya to prevent issues such as violence and abuse and identify people in need of medical and financial assistance.
The women who run the CCCs also become the Apnalaya point of contact for residents who are in need of accessing livelihood and skill development opportunities. In the last two years, 646 non-programme beneficiary youth and women were identified by these CCC entrepreneurs and referred for various job opportunities and skill training.
“I don’t want the good to stop with me. I have three-four children whose families can’t afford day-care fees as well. As and when I am able to, I link other women to government schemes and opportunities through Apnalaya,” said Reshmi who has grown from an entrepreneur to being a leading voice in the community.