To continue their private and professional lives child care must be provided.

To continue their private and professional lives child care must be provided.

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Due to the project women right to economic emancipation is ensured. Less stress at their work place contributes to the enhancement of their productivity, thus increases their wage earnings. The children will also change, as they will have a safe and secure environment in the childcare centers will contribute into their growing up as caring and productive members of the society. The work contribute to bringing change in society in terms of changing the status of women. Child care has been recognized as one of the main reasons for women not joining the job market. The work is overall economic success of Bangladesh encouraging women to engage in the economic sector. Women are becoming empowered at the family, society and national levels and ultimately the national economy benefits.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Phulki engages a diverse community including garment factory owners, international buying company the private sector (such as banks and mobile phone companies) as well as the public sector (government). The people of the urban slum communities are also a part of Phulki’s community. Employers are not aware of their obligation to provide childcare for women workers nor are they aware of the benefits this can reap in terms of the continuity and retention of skilled workers. On the other hand, in the localities where these working women reside the people also have less education and less awareness of the need for women’s economic emancipation as well as children’s rights to a safe and secure environment. Garment factory owners benefit from child care centers as well as bank owners and other private company owners. Phulki creates a supportive environment for the children, women, owners, family member and the whole community.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The concept of institutionalised child care is new in Bangladesh. Phulki has been successful in making this innovative effort an essential reality in Bangladesh. The export-oriented garment industry in Bangladesh earns 80 percent of the country's foreign exchange. These garment factories can be seen as pioneers in bringing women into the formal job market. Large numbers of women workers have migrated from rural villages to the cities, seeking work in the garment factories, and thus creating nuclear families in urban Bangladesh. Recognizing this fact Phulki started promoting child care as a woman’s and child’s right. The reality is that if women are to have a public and professional life, someone has to take care of their children. Women cannot concentrate on their job if they do not know that their children are secure in a safe environment. This fact is often ignored, and women are faced with the dilemma of choosing between their children and their economic independence. The concept of childcare is essential in developing any community. Childcare is a woman’s right and a child’s right and the responsibility of the community and the state. Every child deserves a chance and every adult has a responsibility. This concept is totally new for the patriarchal society of Bangladesh. Previously childcare was seen as charity and not a right.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Workplace Based Child Care: The model designed for children of 0-3 years of lactating working mothers. They are located in the premises of the work place. Mothers bring the children on arriving and collect them at end of day. Centres run in consultation with management and mothers. Employer bears all expenses of centres. Mothers also contribute. Employer has option to appoint Phulki as paid consultant. It is a unique system to bring three parties to a common table. Community Based Child Care: Community based childcare centres are located where low paid working women reside, for children of 3-6 years; after that children go to the mainstream school. No food is provided; parents bring lunch for the children and pay a monthly service charge to cover the operational costs. The centers run 6 days/week. Centres run from 7am-5 pm. Phulki also introduced home based childcare centres; this service is provided in the caregiver's home reducing the cost of rent. The monthly contribution made by mothers used for the caregiver’s salary and materials of centres. To run a home based child care centre caregivers must be trained from Phulki. Phulki is doing consultancy with public, private sector and garment factories out sourcing the training of caregivers. Basic Training for caregivers on Early Childhood Development: 10 days courses to develop a group of ECD practitioners and give them certificate. Certification is highly appreciated in country and recognises the graduates as ECD professionals. Phulki is now franchising the model to three smaller NGOs to provide childcare services.
About You
About You
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About Your Organization
Organization Name


Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

In her early years, Suraiya grew up in a privileged environment. Due to social pressures, she was married off while in Class Ten. Her in-laws did not allow her to continue her studies even though she was a good student. It was their opinion that no wife in the family should need to work. After a break of eight years, Suraiya returned to school against her husband and in-laws’ wishes. She continued her education until she received her Bachelor’s degree with no support from anyone. Even her mother suggested that her stubborn attitude toward academics was detrimental to her married life. In the early 80s, Suraiya ran the floor operation of a garments factory in Chittagong City. Prior to her joining, the female garment workers were given three months’ training and then placed in the production cycle. Suraiya changed the format and within 15 days the women workers were involved in the production of garments. The efficiency and productivity of the factory increased significantly during her tenure. After a few years, she and her family moved to Dhaka City. Once a woman came to seek domestic employment in her house but Suraiya refused as the woman had a child with her. She later regretted her decision and started discussing the idea of workplace day care. She established Phulki in her home garage in 1991, and her two sons donated their first paycheck for the start-up costs. Now Phulki is situated in its own building and is a growing organization dedicated to the well-being of working women and their children.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

Phulki has worked for the last nineteen years on a variety of childcare options which are sustainable. Phulki’s childcare models are fully sustainable and currently being replicated by other organizations.
The success of Phulki isn’t only measurable in these number of ways;
The biggest success is that the Government of Bangladesh has adopted this program for child care centers.
The success can be measured by the establishment of child care centers in 4000 garment factories, some centers are operational and some centers are non operational.
It is now a compliance issue.
The mind-set of policy makers in the public and private sector has changed towards child care.
The demand for community based child care centers has increased and even low paid working women are willing to pay Tk 200 per child per month.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?


How will your project evolve over the next three years?

Phulki has demonstrated the tangible benefits of child care to working women and their children. Next three years Phulki will work with partner organizations to implement activities to achieve these changes in women’s lives, building the capacity with existing ECD programs through mentoring and technical assistance. The focus on low paid working women, especially garment workers and their children. This population belongs typically the poorest segment of society and needs support to break out of an ongoing cycle of poverty and illiteracy. Phulki will advocate for institutionalized child care. The Government of Bangladesh has adopted this program Phulki is working towards having a regulatory body for monitoring child care where as an expert Phulki will be a member of the regulatory body.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

At the time Phulki began its work, the concept of a day care centre or non-family based childcare was totally new in Bangladesh and considered undesirable and alien. Thus Phulki faced many hurdles despite the practical need for childcare among low paid working women. The women themselves were unsure, and many asked why Phulki was interested in the well being of their children. Trust building was therefore an important first step. Although the situation has changed in the last 20 years, still Phulki faces a number of barriers in times of implementation such as labour unrest in the garment factories, social and political upsurges, not keeping the political commitment. However, these barriers can’t stop the success of Phulki’s initiatives. Phulki from the very beginning involves the community (the factory management, buyers, community, mothers, etc) and when any sort of problems arise, Phulki holds discussions with the relevant community and sets up a mitigation strategy for the existing problem.

Tell us about your partnerships

Current Development Partners
Plan International
Shapla Neer
The Aga Khan Foundation
The World Health Organization
Childreach International
BSR (HER project)
Previous Development Partners
Global Fund for Children
Global Fund for Women
Save the Children UK
Save the Children USA
The Royal Danish Embassy (DANIDA)
The Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC)
Water Aid Bangladesh
Marp (a buying Company under CSR)
The Manusher Jonno Foundation
International Links:
Phulki is accredited by the Fair Labour Association (FLA) as an independent external monitor. The FLA is a unique collaboration of companies, human rights groups, labor rights organizations and 155 colleges and universities working together to improve workplace conditions in factories around the world. The work Phulki does with the FLA includes;
Social Auditing
Training courses for mid level management
Workers’ Training on the International Code of Conduct.

Phulki has worked with H&M, one of the largest retailers in Europe, on developing a short film to create awareness about the Code of Conduct among workers. Phulki has also worked with Adidas in the field of workers’ complaints including workers’ confidential information, and, if necessary, record checking and monthly monitoring.
Local Links:
Phulki is a member of the Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (Bangladesh Child Rights Forum), and is connected with Naripokkho (a leading women’s rights organisation). Phulki is working with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and The Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority in the establishment of factory based day care centers. Phulki also works with the Ministry of Labour. Phulki is a member of the National ECD (Early Childhood Development) Network in Bangladesh.

Explain your selections

Phulki’s projects are mostly supported by the business community. They are responsible for the operation of the day care centers with consultancy from Phulki. Besides this development partners also support the projects.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

Phulki would take the following steps to strengthen the projects. Phulki is currently investing in building staff capacity in relevant sectors. Some staff are receiving academic degrees in early childhood development as well as following an accredited short course on different issues of childhood development. Set up an in-house mechanism to share subject related knowledge. The receive degrees and courses take the responsibility of sharing their knowledge with others. Phulki worked on advocacy on the issues of working mothers. This year Phulki has launched a signature campaign to advocate for the necessity of child care centers for working women. In the next year, Phulki will arrange a national seminar on the same issue as a follow up event to the advocacy campaign. These advocacy works will strengthen Phulki as an organization as well as the issue of child care for working mothers in the broader social scenario. This year the BGMEA is going to create a collaborative regulatory monitoring board through which Phulki and the government will work for monitoring. Phulki will work for community capacity building so that they can take over the responsibility of the child care centers should Phulki exit from providing support. This will work as a component of the sustainability of child care centers. This community would include the business community, buyer community and urban slum people. Phulki is currently working on spreading their expertise to smaller NGOs by partnering with them. Phulki will continue this initiative with the current partners as well as seeking new partners.

Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.


Need for regulatory/policy support


Restricted access to new markets


Restrictive cultural norms

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Phulki is working with advocacy works at the policy level so that on site child care becomes a general practice regardless of the type of organization. Although there are laws regarding on site child care centers mentioned in the Factory Act (1965 and amended in 1990) implementation has been a challenge due to the unwillingness of the owners and employers. Therefore a proper implementation policy is needed for the implementation of this law.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.



Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services


Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

Phulki is currently working on scaling up its child care model through partners within the country. Since its foundation Phulki has worked in Dhaka City. From April 2008, Phulki has spread its reach to the port city of Chittagong. Currently Phulki is working in both cities with one of its child care models which is the on site child care centers. In the up coming years Phulki aims to scale up its community based child care model in these two cities through partner organizations.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Phulki works as an advocate for working women and their children. Proper policy at the government level as well as the implementation of these policies is very crucial for this issue. So Phulki has a strong collaboration with the relevant sectors of government regarding this issue.
Phulki also maintains a strong collaboration with the business community so that the on site child care issue can be strengthened as per the requirements of mothers and their children.
Phulki is now investing in the capacity building of staff members. The more staff are capacitated the more quality output can be expected of them. That is why functional linkages with academic institutions are very crucial to the future success of the projects of Phulki.