Lyana, 5, comes from a dual income family. Like many others, they rely on out-of-home child care, but what sets them apart is that Lyana's pre-school is located at her mother's workplace.
SERI KEMBANGAN, MALAYSIA, 11 September 2012 – On a Monday morning, 5-year-old Lyana is getting ready for pre-school. Like many others, she comes from a dual income family, and like many others, they rely on out-of-home child care. What sets them apart is that Lyana's pre-school is located at her mother's workplace, Kein Hing Industry, or KHI.
The manufacturing company set up the pre-school in 1998 to address the needs of its employees. About 60 children aged 2 to 6 attend the pre-school, which also provides after-school care for children 12 and under.
Lyana's mother, Mimma binti Nordin, is glad for the peace of mind it gives her. "As a working mother, I feel it's more convenient. I can carry out my job and duties perfectly without any disturbances. I don't need to worry about her safety, and I don't need to worry about her food, her hygiene, and most importantly, her knowledge," she says.
The pre-school was founded to assist working mothers, but there has also been a positive business impact, according to its Advisor, Elaine Yong. "When our customers see our child care centre they are able to perceive a softer image to our engineering environment. And on top of that, whenever new candidates come to our company for interviews they are always drawn by our child care centre facilities," she says.
Access to good quality child care is a pressing issue in Malaysia, which is trying to boost its female workforce participation. Media reports of neglect and abuse in some care centres have made the need to find reliable child care that much more pressing.
Lyana loves to learn and has become more independent, according to her mother.
A win-win for all
In response, UNICEF and the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) launched the 'Establishment of a Child Care Centre at the Work Place' Best Business Practice Circular and accompanying tool kit, a positive step forward in promoting child-focused corporate social responsibility in Malaysia.
"UNICEF is proud to be working with the Companies Commission of Malaysia on this Best Business Practice Circular and Tool Kit. This is really a win-win. A win for the private sector, a win for its employees, and actually, a win for children too," says UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Wivina Belmonte.
The goal is for more companies in Malaysia to adopt child-focused corporate social responsibility measures, including offering child care services. This will not only make businesses more competitive and sustainable, but will also allow working parents to be better caregivers and enable children like Lyana to thrive and develop to their full potential.