Indian Preschool Teachers’ Work Matters

By Saroj Kumar Pattnaik, ChildFund India

For Manju Sharma, 37, life once was structured around taking care of her two children and doing daily household chores. Until a few years ago, she had little idea of the world outside her home in the Firozabad district in northern India. But since she began working at an Early Childhood Development (ECD) center supported by ChildFund India, her definition of life has changed. Now she is a self-assured and respected woman in her community.

woman in classroom

Manju Sharma works at an Early Childhood Development center in India.

Initially, Manju was nervous about accepting a job outside the home. Staying away from her children and husband for more than six hours a day was a challenge, but she accepted an offer to work with the ECD program in 2007 because of her passion for helping children living in poverty.

“It was not a very smooth start for me, but my affection for small kids helped to overcome my fears gradually,” Manju recalls. “Soon I was able to strike a chord among the children, and they started loving my presence.”

Manju received basic training on maintaining good hygiene among the center’s 35 children ages 2 to 5.

“I also took training on how to monitor growth of the children attending the ECD center,” she explains. “Now, I am fully aware about the issue of malnutrition and often lead educational sessions for mothers, giving them tips about how they can take proper care of their children’s health.”

She adds, “People now know me as Manju Didi [sister], and I love the respect they shower on me.”

For 26-year-old Avdhesh Jadaun, a teacher at an ECD center in the nearby Andand Nagar locality, teaching was a passion she had held since childhood.

teacher with children

Avdhesh Jadaun teaches so she can help empower children in her district.

Avdhesh, who has a master’s degree in psychology, has a desire to see all children in her locality receive an education and grow up to be self-sufficient young adults — a goal that ChildFund also wishes to achieve.

“Since my school days, I wanted to work for poor children, especially helping them complete their basic education. Now, ChildFund gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream, and I am very happy,” Avdhesh says.

ChildFund India’s local program manager Bikrant Mishra says, “Avdhesh and Manju are two of our most committed staffers who not only take care of the ECD centers but also actively participate in our maternal and child health-related activities.”

ChildFund currently runs nine ECD centers in Firozabad. More than 600 children up to age 5 are cared for in these centers. Mothers and pregnant women are also given important training on pre- and postnatal health care that includes immunization, breastfeeding, nutritional food intake and regular check-ups.

teacher weighing child

Manju monitors the growth of the children.

“And these teachers often act as health workers in their own capacities and help us deliver better service among the communities,” Mishra adds.

Although Manju and Avdhesh are paid modest salaries for their hard work, they are satisfied when they see the children play, sing and dance happily around them.

“The children are so sincere; often their gratitude is enough,” Avdhesh explains.

Manju says, “The satisfaction I draw from working with these innocent children is incomparable. It’s priceless.”

7 Responses to Indian Preschool Teachers’ Work Matters

  • CONGRATULATION FOR RECOGNITION .IT IS TRUE THAT RECOGNITION OF NOBEL WORK IS BIG ISSUE IN INDIAN SOCIETY . WE SALUTE TO MANJU AND AVADESH DEDICATION AND ALSO SALUTE TO CHILD FUND INITIATIVE . WE ARE WITNESS THAT CHILD FUND HAVE DEVELOP MORE THAN 100 MANJU S AMONG VULNERABLE COMMUNITY OF UTERER PRADESH WHERE INFANT MORTALITY RATE WAS ABOVE 100 AS BUNDELKHAND, CHANDOOLI AND KUSAMBI .WE ARE LOOKING IN BUNDELKHAND BARGARH COMMUNITY MOTHER ARE TAKING INITIATIVE TO PROTECTION OF EVERY CHILD OF EVERY FAMILY . ALL OF ARE TRIBAL POOR AND NOT EDUCATED BUT THEY ARE EDUCATED ON CHILD CARING PRACTICES ESTABLISHED TO ANTI NATAL CARE TO POST ANTI NATAL CARE BY SUPPORT to CHILD FUND.

  • Dear project Manager

    Much regards from Kenya.Is it possible to be a volunteer overseas and especially in Africa? Kind Regards

    HARRISON NJARU MBOGO

    KENYATTA UNIVERSITY GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDIES

    • Hello and thanks for your question.The majority of our volunteer opportunities are for people who live in the communities ChildFund serves. However, our country offices in Africa do occasionally have need for interns and/or volunteers. Are your seeking that opportunity in Kenya or, perhaps, another country? Please send an email to Questions@ChildFund.org, with your contact email and the country in which you’d like to volunteer and for what time period (e.g., this coming summer or now). We can check to see if there any opportunities for you to pursue.

  • Nice post and Great work. If you need help then Volunteer India specialises in volunteer work and volunteer programs in India. If you’re interested in volunteering in India, look no further! We offer background information, information on programs, weekly news and much more.

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