The daycare centre
Oum El Banine has a daycare centre where the unmarried mothers can leave their babies while working or getting an education. The daycare centre is open daily 07.00-18.00 (except for Sundays). There are about 25 children in la crèche. They are divided into three sections – one for the small babies, one for 1-2 year olds and one for 2-3 year olds. The smallest babies are only a few weeks old – they come to the daycare centre when the mothers leave the women’s house. The environment is simple but there are plenty of babysitters, cots, toys and mattresses to play on. There are six children’s nurses working in the daycare centre – all of them with great experience in working with small children.
In the kitchen of the daycare centre, nutritious food is prepared for the older babies and the smallest ones are given mother’s milk substitute and for example yoghurt, bananas and other mixed fruits. It feels like any other daycare centre, with the exception that the children are very small. But it really is everything but an ordinary daycare centre since the mothers of the children are unmarried. Without Oum El Banine there would be no possibilities for the babies to stay with their mothers. They had been abandoned at birth and have had to grow up at the orphanage at the hospital – some of them would not have been alive today.
Oum El Banine takes the main responsibility for the children up to the age of three years. And the children are given everything they need. If they are ill, they get access to health care. Oum El Banine pays for medical examinations and if needed also operations and other forms of treatment. The association is also working for getting the children officially registered (today they are considered ”illegal” since they are born by unmarried women).