Community Child Care Center

“I keep my daughter in the “Community Child Care Center” and go for harvesting paddy without any tension. I am happy that my child is getting good care, and living under safe environment.” – Tulasi BK (24 yrs), mother of a 2 year old expressed her remark.
Samala Community Child Care Center in ward 5 of Belpata Village Development Committee has become a model initiative in Dailekh district which is operated by the women of Samala Community Awareness Center, a group of Dalit women. Presently, accommodating 15 children of ages ranging from 1 to 5 years, it has recently been established and is running its 3rd month. It is a part of the pilot action research by COPILA (Community Practice in Schools for Learning Climate Change Adaptation) that aims to plan and implement different programmatic interventions focusing to recognize, reduce and redistribute women's engagement in Unpaid Care Work to improve on women's representation at local level institutions and climate change adaptation discourse while engaging in evidence based policy advocacy on the related issues.
Although a long term impact of Community Child Care Center is yet to be realized, the short term advantages that the mothers of the children have expressed shows that it has become easier for them to go to do paid work (mostly crushing stones, working in others’ farms) and work in own farms (subsistence agriculture) without worrying about their children. They have planned to dedicate their time to work in climate change adaptation discourses actively in coming days.
“I used to carry my one and a half years old son with me everywhere whether it was to do agricultural work or household chores or any meetings. Sometimes I even used to leave my son alone at my home. This used to make me anxious and stressful while at work and I kept worrying whether my child has fallen down and hurt himself or is eating mud and choking. I am really feeling happy to leave my son in child care center now.” – Apsara BK (31 years)
When women left their children at home, they were half-heartedly at work, in a meeting or training and they kept worrying about their children during their work. Such stressful situation quite often upsets their meaningful participation in whatever they were doing. When they analyzed how much time they have to spend on childcare through time diary practices, they discussed the idea in their Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques classes and came up with a solution of establishing a child care center in the community. After a lot of discussions at community, Village Development Committee and district level, the rural women with their determination are able to establish it with an initial support from COPILA (Community Practice in Schools for Learning Climate Change Adaptation) – HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal. The women have also been able to get budget leverage from the Village Development Committee for Child Care Center for 2017, i.e. Rs. 50,000. The budget allocation from Village Development Committee can be taken as an acknowledgement of women’s unpaid care work and child care, which we feel a milestone to upscale the local practices at local level policy process. The women have become empowered enough to put their voices forward regarding their workload and rights.
Khagisara BK (19 yrs) with a 2 years old son, one of the two caretakers, expresses her observation and how she feels about the child care center, “I am happy that my community has trusted us with the care of their children. Mothers leave their children in the morning at 9 AM and receive them at 5 pm. I have rarely seen fathers or male members of the family leave and receive their children. Maybe it is because of seasonal migration of men for employment. However, I am happy to see that my son along with the sons and daughters of the community are getting enough care while the mothers can work. I have not seen any mother take rest after they leave their children here. All of them go to work for money or in their farm. Sometimes they go to attend various meetings too.”