- Parent Category: ECCD
Paraspara Trust was founded during 1995-96 as a non-governmental trust dedicated to the cause of eradicating child labour. It reaches out to all children who, due to circumstances beyond their control, are exploited and denied their rights. Paraspara’s efforts are concentrated in Bangalore, primarily in the Malleswaram, Yeshwantpur regions of the city. It has a staff of 60.
Although much of Paraspara’s work is with child labour, it also runs crèches for children, 3 to 6 years. Due to poverty, many parents are unable to provide their children with a stimulating environment to enable children to have a productive and happy childhood and grow up to be responsible adults. Since the government’s anganwadi programme is inadequate, Paraspara started crèches to provide an environment that is conducive for the mental and psychological development of the child during its formative years. Paraspara’s ECCD programme is supported by HPS and HP. Earlier, Action Aid too supported the community crèches for a year.
Located in the slums, these pre-primary centers support working mothers, improve the health and development of children and reduce the child death rate in the community. Paraspara facilitates 13 crèche centers for 325 children in the Malleswaram zone. Five of these work from 9.30am to 5.00pm while eight run between 9.30am to 1.00pm. It also runs another 10 crèches in the Pantherpalya area with 230 children. With the help of volunteers, Paraspara has extended the working hours of the government-run anganwadis beyond lunchtime in the areas of Vivekananda block and Subedarpalya to provide a place for 60 children. Every crèche has a trained teacher and assistant to provide the children with basic education, nutrition and health care.
The centers also facilitate immunization for the children and conduct monthly meetings for the mothers of the children and pregnant women, on nutrition, health, cleanliness and hygiene. Paraspara holds community meetings to discuss the needs of the community, especially children and women; organises awareness programmes; conducts quarterly programmes for the mothers and children such as drawing competition, sports and cultural programmes; takes children on exposure trips; organizes health check ups once in 3 months; and mainstreams the children to formal schools and follows up on their performance.
Paraspara has an annual two-month training programme for girls who have completed their SSLC to become anganwadi teachers. Fifty girls are trained after which some of them get absorbed in Paraspara’s crèches. Every six months it conducts a half-yearly study in the community and has case studies of all children to enable it to follow up on them. Paraspara believes in networking with other groups and thereby lobbying and advocating for pro-people policies, especially those that benefit children. It networks with CACL-K, Right to Food Campaign and the State Alliance for Education.
Its role extends to participating in representations, delegations, processions, demonstrations and dharnas to bring about policy level changes. It has been involved in mobilizing notebooks for the children and facilitating the community-based organisations and the SHGs to fight for their rights and basic needs.
In the past, Paraspara Trust has facilitated four crèches in the area through the government’s IPP-8 programme. Its focus areas have been mother and child health, immunization, insisting on family planning, AIDS awareness, enrollment in schools and building a network between the community and government hospitals, as such a network does not exist. It believes that the number of anganwadis is grossly inadequate as there is no strong advocacy to increase its number.