As almost all carpet factories in Kathmandu valley have dormitory facilities within their premises for workers, often factory floors and workplaces are playgrounds for children of all ages. Toddlers are seen crawling and running around or being breast-fed while their mothers are busy weaving or spinning. For many children, this situation continues even after they have attained school-going age. For these workers and their children, such situation is nothing different from the rural setup they come from. Therefore, it is hard for them to realise that it is not a normal thing for children’s rights, from development and protection perspective. An early childhood development cum day care centre available at a reasonable distance from a factory could be an appropriate solution to address this problem. Such centres not only provide toddlers a safe playground, but also provide opportunities to learn basics of education and more importantly, they are accustomed to school environment. As Various organizations have set up such centres in different carpet belts. Some factories also have their own centres, often run in cooperation with local NGOs. These centres, however, are far from being enough for needy children in carpet factories. GoodWeave licensees, their suppliers and workers look towards RugMark for support to establish and run such centres. Some licensees, who already have such centres, also look forward for GoodWeave’s help, technically and financially.
In this context, The Centre was started in 2001. NGF has been running three early childhood development cum day care centres with a total capacity of 225 children where, at present, a total of 200 children are enjoying. Education, Protection and Help for Children (EPHC), the first partner NGO to run such centre at Jorpati, Kathmandu is offering care to 100 children and the other two partners NGOs - Helpless Rehabilitation Society (HRS); and Children, Welfare and Community Development Services (CWARDS) are offering care to 50 and 50 children respectively. Children aged between 2 and 10 years from more than 20 factories attend classes six days a week in these centres. All these factories are either GoodWeave licensees or their suppliers. Children in these centres are divided into three groups – play or nursery group, kindergarten group and elementary class. The objective is basically to motivate and initiate children and their parents for schooling/education while providing them with a better opportunity for development. Most of the graduates from this programme are linked up with the sponsored education programme of the Foundation.
The best part of this programme is that the factories and the parents of the participating children are also made to make some contributions to share the cost (factories pay for the house rent and the parents for the midday meal), so as to have their involvement in the successful running of the centre.
The Foundation has also been helping in improving the functioning of the similar centres established and run by GoodWeave licensees themselves or in running of such centres in collaboration with licensees. NGF seeks necessary coordination and sharing of experiences with other centres/programmes in this field. Till now, NGF has supported twenty three day care centres run by the licensees themselves covering around 700 children.