Give vulnerable girls in western Nepal the chance for an education and a future instead of a life of indentured service.
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In the Dang District in western Nepal, indigenous families subsisting as farm laborers were forced into a desperate trade -- selling their daughters to work far from home as bonded servants in private homes or as dishwashers in tea houses. Some of these children are as young as six. Alone and far from home, these indentured daughters' living conditions are entirely at the discretion of their employers. The bonded girls seldom attended school and had no prospects for a decent future. Some were ultimately forced into prostitution.
Working closely with local communities, Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) provided an alternative for these families, compensating the families for their daughters' lost wages and supporting the girls as they attend school. By 2012, due to this program, not a single girl from Deukhuri Valley of the Dang District was indentured.
There are thousands more daughters to be saved. NYF estimates that 20,000 to 25,000 young girls are victims of this terrible practice in five western districts. By following the model that succeeded so well in the Dang District, NYF hopes to achieve its ambitious goal, which is nothing less than the complete eradication of the custom of bonding children in Nepal.
While it takes only $50 to rescue a girl from virtual slavery, bring her home
to live with her family, pay her school expenses for six months, and
compensate her parents for her lost wages, NYF is in the heartbreaking position of having to turn away girls who want to enroll in the program simply because its budget will not stretch far enough.
Give a girl a new life. Support a rescued daughter for six months ($50), a year ($100), or for six whole years ($350), taking her through 10th grade and the start of an independent life. Your donation covers her school uniforms, books, school fees, and a kerosene lamp and kerosene -- highly valuable items in a region lacking electricity.
Report from the Field
YOUR SUPPORT made it possible for an INCREDIBLE MILESTONE to be reached - a total of 2,330 women have been rescued from indentured servitude and received identity cards for the very first time! ID cards are important because they enable these young women to access the support promised in 2013 when Kamlari was abolished, including educational scholarships and special consideration for government employment.
Urmila (pictured in the above picture on the left) is a Freed Kamlari women’s rights activist and a former indentured servant under the Kamlari system. At the age of six, she was forced to leave her family and worked as a domestic servant for 11 years. She endured incredible hardship including abuse, exploitation and no compensation for her work. Her future was bleak until Nepal Youth Foundation rescued her at age 17. She started school after she was freed in 2007 and was elected the first president of the Freed Kamlari Development Forum, an organization founded by women and girls to fight for their rights and support one another.
As someone who has supported the liberation of previously indentured servants (also known as Kamlaris), you may be concerned about the devastating situation in Nepal where massive flooding and landslides have displaced thousands of families. The number of deaths and causalities are mounting, as rescue efforts continue. Southwestern Nepal, the hardest hit region, is home to thousands of freed Kamlari women and girls. They've had the life-transforming opportunity - with your support - to build businesses, homes, and freedom. Now they are at risk of losing everything.
A least 150 girls have lost their homes and 250 are badly affected. They were running thriving businesses (food carts, cafes, grocery shops, seamstress goat and pig farming) with the training of NYF. With their communities devastated and their businesses wiped out, their futures look bleak without our help. Despite severe disruptions to the local electricity, transportation, and communication systems, the NYF team in Nepal is assessing the extent of damage and planning our response.
For instance, Dilkumari lives in an area hard hit by the flooding and operated a seamstress training program and is an active leader in the Freed Kamalari Development Forum. On the third day of the flood, she reported:"All houses have been destroyed by the flood. Some have already collapsed and some are flooded. We could not save any food and clothes. Many of us are living in groups in the school building which survived the flood. There is no food and people are hungry. Water is polluted. Many people have begun to get sick. I am also suffering from fever and nausea."
Also, Asha, a freed Kamlari and a graduate of NYF's vocational training program, is from the Dang District, an area also severely impacted by the flooding. She runs a teashop with training and a business loan from NYF. But the flood washed away all her goods and materials and has left the teashop severely damaged. Asha is anxious about her immediate survival, and is now concerned about how she will repay her loan to the cooperative without income from her teashop.
Thanks to your help two young women who spent their childhoods as indentured servants earned college degrees â the first freed Kamlari to graduate from college. Saraswoti and Basanti were honored for their achievements by the Freed Kamlari Development Forum (FKDF) at a ceremony in the Dang District of Western Nepal. Saraswoti was awarded a bachelorâs of English and Basanti studied electrical engineering. NYF and donors like you rescued the young women 15 years ago and helped them get the education denied them by the dehumanizing practice of childhood slavery known as Kamlari. As a Kamlari for six years, Saraswoti fantasized about getting an education. âI was compelled to wash dishes and clothes throughout the day whereas kids of my age went to school,â she said.
Last year, 2,841 freed girls were in school or college - with three working towards their master's degree! Another 1,300 have taken vocational training programs through our Vocational Education and Career Counseling (VECC) programs, out of which 1,003 completed the training and are either employed or have started their own businesses. The freed girls have opened 41 registered business cooperatives and four saving groups in the five Nepal Youth Foundation program districts in western Nepal.
Meet Kamala Chaudhary (pictured left) â proud owner of the Anmal Bike Workshop, and quite possibly, the first female motorcycle mechanic in Nepal. In less than 3 years, Kamala paid back the $1,000 dollars she borrowed from her local co-op to start her business, and now she is training Sudhama (pictured right), as her intern. Both Kamala and Sudhama were sold as Kamlari when they were young girls and suffered years of abuse as house slaves. But with small educational grants from NYF, they were able to return to public school, and after graduating â qualified for vocational training. Kamala has taken out a new loan out from her local co-op to expand her business and is thinking about going back to school to become an engineer. As for Sudhama, sheâs already thinking about opening her own shop!
Report from the Field
Over the course of the past fourteen months, Nepal Youth Foundation has been working continuously to provide local disaster relief. In just over a year, they have provided disaster relief for 94,000 individuals and built shelters for 5,300 families. As a leading non-profit in Nepal, their brave work has been imperative to the continued rebuilding of their beautiful country. Although much more work needs to be done with their rebuilding effort, their organization can thankfully continue to liberate girls from indentured servitude.
16 years ago Nepal Youth Foundation started a campaign and have liberated 12,700 girls. An estimated 300 girls are still living Kamlari lifestyles. It is their goal to eradicate this practice entirely, and their incredible progress is evidence that they are well on their way to carrying out this mission. Your donation support is needed to help Nepal Youth Foundation end this inhumane practice once and for all.
The Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) is a U.S.-based nonprofit that brings hope to impoverished Nepali children by providing what should be every child's birthright -- education, housing, medical care, and loving support.
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