The Madi Community Child Care Centre:
The community of Madi is in the Baglung District of Western Nepal. It is a community of several hundred villagers, almost all being subsistence farmers. There is little scope for cash crops due to the challenge of bringing fresh produce to the markets in Pokhara, Kusma and Baglung, which are 6-8 hours away from the village. The area has not been popular among tourists – not because of any inherent problems, as in fact the area is remarkably beautiful – but because tourists typically want to trek closer to the Annapurna mountains. It was here in Madi that we decided to try and convince the locals of the need for a community child care center. There was a need in Madi for a child care facility. We noticed that villagers here are relatively resourceful, not in cash but in other qualities, and are forward thinking and ambitious for their children. It is a perfect test case for a new model of child care, one that is owned and operated by the community. It came into being with the collective efforts of the villagers and started its operation in a temporary shelter within two months from the time of conception. They named it the Madi Community Early Childhood Care and Development Center. They are justifiably proud of their accomplishment.
Mode of Operation:
The center would be open to children post breast-feeding until school age for 6 days per week. It would open its doors at 0930 and close at 1630 allowing for the older school attending children to drop-off and pick-up their siblings each day. The children would receive 2 snacks and one mid-day meal at the center. Younger children (3 and under) would have a nap after lunch in a special sleep room. As much as possible the equipment would be donated, some purchased in Nepal and some provided by volunteers here in Canada.
We hope to utilize the significant amount of operational knowledge accumulated in the process, to open many more such Community Child Care Centres where each centre would be self-sustaining in 2 to thee years of time.