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Life Of A Construction Labourer's Child
An estimated 90% of urban construction workers are rural migrants, and over a third of all rural migrants work in construction projects along with their families
Photo Credit : Reuters
The construction Industry in India absorbs almost 44 million workers, two third of whom (30 million including 4.5 million women) are unskilled and more than half of them live below the poverty line. India witnesses millions of such unskilled labourers who have left their native villages to find out a job in big cities to combat extreme rural poverty. These migrant workers are spread across the country and travel from one area of work to another along with their families. They live in temporary settlements, sometimes provided by the construction company, for the duration of the construction project and then move to another site.
Construction projects are the largest employers of migrant workers, with approximately 11 million working on projects across India, and because of their low bargaining power, their numbers have been steadily growing.
An estimated 90% of urban construction workers are rural migrants, and over a third of all rural migrants work in construction projects along with their families.
Ground level reports reveal that implementation of law for protection of construction workers has been unsatisfactory. They do not have access to clean drinking water, toilets, proper accommodation or even access to basic medical facilities. Such pitiable conditions make the construction workers and their family members, including children, vulnerable to health risks.
Their situation is such that they are forced to take their children to the project sites often littered with wires, pilings, concrete or open pits. Their condition is far from the fundamental requirements of childhood - care, nurturing, protection, and opportunities to develop.
In fact, NGOs and welfare workers even face opposition from labour contractors when they try to intervene and question their labour practices.
From slate to plate- a holistic day care intervention
To address this issue, Emaar India under their "Guardian of Hope" programme comes up with a new initiative for Children of construction labourers to have a nurturing and joyful childhood and with this vision, they have been running crèche programmes across its 9 project sites for children of migrant workers to help migrant families and their children for a better and secure living.
Samaritans like Sangeeta, a caretaker of one of the crèche at a construction site, are far and few and often struggle to get contractors and developers to see the benefits of welfare. "Initially I faced much difficulty and opposition. It was a long struggle before I could make any headway."
Emaar India with help of people like Sangeeta are running crèches at 9 project sites and they ensures that the children are looked after, providing with nutrition and have access to basic education.
Sangeeta says "The crèche staff are trained & monitored on regular basis to ensure appropriate upbringing of kids. Time to time, Emaar India employees & the inhabitants of residential projects quiet often volunteer to teach and spend some quality time with the crèche kids. Recently, a movie screening session was organized at the theatre of one of the residential complex's clubhouse where more than 200 kids and 20 staff members enjoyed the movie"
For Chandni - a migrant labourer from Mathura, getting a private education for her kids was out of question; but, with Emaar India's initiative she feels that the education provided at their crèches is at par or even better than that of any other place. "My son is happy to attend school every day," she says. The story is similar with Rashmi and Sarita, who work with Chandni. They say that they experience a great working environment too as they do not have to worry about their children.
Emaar India in collaboration with its contractors runs nine crèches at different project sites. These crèches cater to labourers' children from age group 0-12 years, divided into three broad categories: the youngest ones from 0-3 years, the Balwadi group of 3-6 years, and the bridge course group of 6-12 years.
The crèches are currently operational at 8 project sites of Gurugram and 1 in Mohali