In the tiny tribal village of Khetrapal, in rural Odisha, India, HHI helps make a dream come true. Since 2007, our partner NGO, Viswa Yuva Kendra, has been supporting the operation of a small crèche center. This is a safe space where the community’s young children can stay during the day to while their parents are working in nearby fields. The crèche center also offers the opportunity for basic teaching of pre-school skills for the children and gives the parents peace in knowing their children are safe and being cared for.
This village is purely tribal, representing one of the lowest castes in India, which still carries with it many limitations, stigma and remains synonymous with poverty . All of the families of Khetrapa live in only 40 houses. All the villagers are daily laborers, working in fields and on lands that they will never own. When they go to the field their children are spend all day in the crèche center, which is currently made out of straw, bamboo and a tarp. Every year this center is damaged by monsoon rains and wind. And every year the villagers repair or rebuild it. But, during the rainy season, no one can use the center, as the floor turns to mud and a steady stream of rain courses over the area.
Viswa Yuva Kendra, and the villagers wanted to do better and they are willing to work for it. Seeing what the village was currently using, and their commitment to it, we felt compelled to lend our support. They proposed to HHI that with a modest amount of funding, the villages parents could buy the basic building materials needed to build a simple, but sturdy building that could offer a safe and protected space for their children.
The construction will start in December 2013 and be finished by the end of January 2014. The villagers will contribute labor to the construction of the center.
Daily activities at the crèche are led by two teachers. Every day includes prayers, keeping the children clean, teaching basic numbers and counting, singing action songs, playing games, storytelling, and dancing. In total there are 18 children 1 – 3 years old and 10 children 3 – 5 years old, benefiting from this small center every day.
Investing in children in their earliest years is the best investment communities can make, and given that this tiny community has already shown such love and commitment to their children, we are honored to help support their efforts in building a real building! We cannot wait to see it!