A safe haven for children,Delhi University creche answers long-felt need

The entrance to the office of the Delhi University Women’s Association does not even offer a signboard that suggests that for the past two months it has been taking care of infants. But once inside the gates,the colourful walls...

Written by Hamari Jamatia | New Delhi | Published: January 19, 2009 2:55 am

The entrance to the office of the Delhi University Women’s Association does not even offer a signboard that suggests that for the past two months it has been taking care of infants. But once inside the gates,the colourful walls,hundreds of toys and cute prams tell the story of a crèche that has come as a boon for teachers,staff members and teachers Delhi University,North Campus who have to feel guilty about leaving an infant home without proper care.

Vatsalya,the crèche and day care centre that was born out of the UGC grants given to DU,had a low-key opening on November 14,Children’s Day last year. That meant that not many are aware of the new arrangement in the midst of North Campus.

But a few couples who learnt of it have been diligently leaving their four children from morning till evening in the care of the organisation. The Association has also been running a Balwari and a pre-school for the last four decades and its president Archana Pental says that the idea of a crèche came after parents from the schools started urging them to keep their children for a longer duration.

“Parents complained that when children got home,there was no one to look after them. That’s how the crèche and day care centre was planned two years ago,” says Archana.

At present working women get maternity leave for six months. After the leave is over,they often have to undergo the trauma of leaving their child behind with no one to take care of them. “In the cities with nuclear families,it is often a big problem. At our centre,parents can be sure that their children are in safe hands,” says Geeta,the convener of the crèche. The centre takes care of children from infancy till they are around 12.

At the day care room,children back from school can take a nap and do their homework before a parent comes to take them home.

What sets the crèche apart from others in the city is that it is not only located near the working area of parents but is run by an organisation that has a whole team of people — starting from the convener to the supervisor — responsible for providing good care to the child. In addition,the organisation has made sure that only the best of non-toxic toys and utensils are available to the children.

But all that comes at a price. At Rs 2500 per month,the crèche may sound a little expensive but Archana claims that it is money well spent.

“The rooms are fitted with ACs which are switched on in summer and educative toys. If parents can spend thousand of rupees on buying clothes for their children,I am sure they can spend Rs 2500 for a month of care,” she says.

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