Balwadis (rural creches)

Approach and inspiration

Barefoot College structures alternative solutions to breaking the cycle of poverty on the conviction that families–and especially women–who educate themselves will go on to raise educated children. It is only after women take this first crucial step toward a better quality of life that they can begin to lessen the cycle of poverty within their families and their communities. Children who are sent to school by their mothers will be healthier, happier, and have the potential to be more financially successful later in life. Thus, the College centers most of the education programmes on women’s empowerment.

Balwadis are set up for the convenience of working mothers, so that they can leave their children in a safe and engaging learning environment during work hours. Balwadis are led by women balsevikas (rural crèche teachers) who are responsible for the health, hygiene, educational and social needs. Extra-curricular activities like singing, dancing, painting, reciting poems and alphabets help keep the children engaged. Balsevikas meet once a month to share information and discuss new leadership approaches and opportunities.