Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

Connecting migrant families to government entitlements: Mumbai Mobile Creches

Mumbai Mobile Creches runs comprehensive day care centres for children of migrant workers living on construction sites, taking care of their health, education and nutrition. Below is a case study of one of MMC’s interventions, and a documentation of the outcome of their efforts to connect this migrant family to government entitlements. Rohan’s story reflects the difficulties faced by families of migrant workers when faced with unexpected health crises, and how vital state schemes, if properly utilized, can be for such families. 

Imagine what a parent might go through when their new born baby needs to go through an uncommon surgery; or any surgery. Rohan* was just two days old when a colostomy was done to create an opening in his abdomen to let his stool pass through it into a collection bag. Rohan was born with a rare medical condition called anorectal malfunction, meaning abnormalities of rectum and anus. Only 1 in 5000 children is born with such a condition, and Rohan’s parents had never heard of it before. In this panic-stricken situation, little Rohan’s parents couldn’t think of anyone else to turn to for emotional and financial support, other than Mumbai Mobile Creches. Rohan’s father, Vijay Mudgal*, was an ex-MMC student who had spent some of his childhood years at a MMC’s daycare center. Now he works as a delivery boy and earns barely enough to support a family of six.

The doctors wanted to wait for at least a year, till Rohan’s body was grown enough for intricate intervention, before undertaking the second surgery or anorectoplasty. A rare condition called for a rare surgery and it couldn’t be undertaken in less than Rs. 60,000 even at a subsidised governmental hospital.  But how can someone earning Rs. 5000 per month spend Rs.60,000 on a single surgery, when he also has a family of six to support? MMC’s Saksham team, which works with the underprivileged community to ensure that they receive government entitlements, took it upon themselves to help little Rohan in whatever way possible. The MMC staff accompanied Rohan’s parents during their frequent visits to the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, and in October 2013, when Rohan was around 18 months old and in relatively stable condition, the doctors suggested undertaking the major surgery which would enable him to lead a healthy life.

During their frequent visits to the hospital, MMC’s Saksham team members gathered information about various government schemes that could help Rohan’s family. They suggested that Rohan should avail the benefits of  Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana (RGJAY), a government scheme which covers all large medical expenses and ensures quality medical care for families in need. Without losing a moment, Rohan was enrolled in the government medical scheme. The anorectoplasty procedure took place in December 2013. RGJAY covered all surgical costs, and within a few days the initial medical expenses were reimbursed to the family. Rohan still has a long road to go before attaining full health, as he needs to be treated for his congenital heart anomaly. MMC’s Saksham team is keeping in close touch with him and his family to make their journey easy for them.

We are very happy that Saksham was able to connect Rohan’s family to a governmental entitlement which allowed Rohan to get the proper start to his treatment. We hope that he will gain full strength soon, and will be able to enjoy his childhood like other children.

*Names have been changed to protect identities. 


Mumbai Mobile Creches LogoThe vision of Mumbai Mobile Creches is to have a nurturing and happy childhood for all children with the mission is to promote ‘child-friendly sites’; where every child living on a construction site is safe, healthy and educated, and able to enjoy their childhood.

Radhika M. Chakraborty

Radhika M. Chakraborty

Radhika M Chakraborty has completed a degree in English Literature from Delhi University and a Master's degree in Women's Studies from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Her research interests include gender and migration, diasporas, Partition, internal displacement and Sindhi culture.
Radhika M. Chakraborty

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