Free Bonded Nepali Girls

 
$226,954 $98,046
Raised Remaining
Health aides tend to injured earthquake victims
Health aides tend to injured earthquake victims

Nearly 40 former child slaves who were trained as health aides through the Nepal Youth Foundation’s vocational training program traveled from their remote village to Kathmandu, where they volunteered at our temporary recovery center for earthquake victims.

The young women spent two weeks following the April 25th earthquake changing bandages and soothing jittery nerves of the hundreds of survivors who stayed in our center following the massive earthquake.

We temporarily converted our nutrition center in Kathmandu and Pokhara to recovery centers for earthquake victims who were discharged from area hospitals but were too injured to return home. Many had no homes to return to.

The former house servants – girls as young as six who were sold as household slaves in a now banned practice known as Kamlari -- traveled six hours by bus from their homes to volunteer their time at the center.

“The response of the younger generation has been fantastic,” said Olga Murray, NYF’s founder who was in Kathmandu at the time of the earthquake. “So many young people came out to help in any way they could.”

Thank you for supporting our work during this difficult time in Nepal.

Namaste!

Tending to the injured
Tending to the injured
Mending broken limbs
Mending broken limbs

Links:

Former Kamlari model their traditional attire
Former Kamlari model their traditional attire

Some former child slaves are learning a trade -- and taking great pride -- in designing, creating and promoting their traditional Tharu attire.

About 20 young women from the Tharu community of Western Nepal who were sold as domestic child slaves in a practice known as Kamlari are enrolled in a training program to design and tailor their authentic native dress.

The intricately designed costumes are in high demand among Tharu girls and women.

Manjita Chaudhary, a young woman NYF rescued from indentured servitude 15 years ago, is leading the training program. NYF supports the popular program through its Vocational Education and Career Counseling program (VECC).

NYF has rescued more than 12,300 girls from the practice of Kamlari since it launched its Indentured Daughters Program in 2000 and is now working to ensure that the girls become healthly, happy, independent young women.

The vocational training programs help to stimulate the cultural and economic development needed to ensure that no child will become a victim of Kamlari again.

Our staff provides structured counseling sessions and assessment tests, and then helps girls enroll in top quality training programs for a wide variety of careers. 82 percent of our graduates are currently employed - a remarkable achievement given that the unemployment rate in Nepal is 40-46 percent.

Thank you for your generous support.

Namaste!

Young Tharu women in their tradtional attire
Young Tharu women in their tradtional attire

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Former Kamlari training to be a seamstress
Former Kamlari training to be a seamstress

We launched our Indentured Daughters Program in 2000 with an audacious goal -- to end the practice of Kamlari, the system in which girls from desperately poor families were sold into domestic slavery.

Since then, Nepal Youth Foundation has rescued over 12,300 girls and returned them to their home communities, importantly, our advocacy work helped persuade the government to officially affirm the abolition of Kamlari and allocate millions of dollars to educate girls who were officially victims of the system.

But rescuing the girls isn't enough. Every one of them has suffered traumatic loss and abuse during their childhood and has been deprived of an education. They'll need support well into young adulthood in order to thrive and make their place in the world.

Our new Empowering Freed Kamari’s program (EFK) is helping the rescued girls become healthy, happy, independent young women, while stimulating the cultural and economic development needed to ensure that no child will ever become a victim of Kamlari again.

This year our various EFK activities served more than 8,000 girls and young women.

Leadership Training With support from NYF, the girls formed their own action group in 2010 - the Freed Kamlari Development Forum (FKDF), which has grown to include 1,375 members. Our EFK staff provides them with training in leadership skills, organizational management, political literacy, accounting and entrepreneurship.

Economic Development There are 37 FKDF business co-ops with nearly 3,000 members. We provided $40,000 to start their co-op loan fund, and 762 young women have now launched their own businesses and reinvested $40,000 back into the fund.

Vocational Training We provide assessment tests and counseling, and then help girls enroll in top-quality training programs. This year, 355 girls developed marketable skills in agriculture, engineering, computer technology, healthcare and more.

Psychological Support With training and supervision from the staff of our Ankur Counseling Center, FKDF peer counselors provide emotional support for former Kamari’s. There are now 50 FKDF peer counselors and five assistant counselors conducting 145 monthly support groups with 2,025 participants.

Thank you for helping us to do this important work.

Namaste!

Training Peer Counselors
Training Peer Counselors
Sita at her poultry farm
Sita at her poultry farm
Literacy training for former Kamlari
Literacy training for former Kamlari
Literacy training
Literacy training
Two young freed Kamlari
Two young freed Kamlari

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This former child slave owns her own repair shop
This former child slave owns her own repair shop

We have changed the name of our Indentured Daughters Program to Empowering Freed Kamlari because we accomplished what we set out to do in 2000 and have helped bring to an end the terrible practice of child slavery in Nepal known as Kamlari.

NYF is now helping thousands of these former indentured servants move towards a brighter future by offering them education, counseling, job skills, advocacy training, and economic support.

An estimated 300 Kamlari remain in servitude, and we will continue this important work to secure their freedom. Our focus now is on helping the more than 12,000 girls we have rescued build new and productive lives.

This is how we are doing it:

  • We helped the young women form their own organization called the Freed Kamlari Development Forum and have taught them the skills to lead the anti-Kamlari movement. NYF gives financial support and offers training in leadership, entrepreneurship, cooperative management and organizational development.
  • NYF negotiated with the Nepal government to offer scholarships to Kamlari robbed of their educations. Thousands of former child slaves are now attending school.
  • Not every young woman is academic and we have a wide range of vocational trainings available for those girls who want to learn a marketable skill. After extensive career and aptitude counseling, girls can choose training in dressmaking, computer technology, cooking, poultry farming, junior engineering, and community medical assistant.
  • We help entrepreneurial young women establish business cooperatives. The girls have established 37 such co-ops with more than 3,000 members. NYF funds low-interest micro loans for businesses such as poultry farming, vegetable production, carpentry, and auto-repair.
  • NYF files lawsuits against employers to obtain just compensation for the freed girls and their families.

In 2014, NYF’s Empowering Freed Kamlari Program has helped to put thousands of formerly indentured daughters on the path of freedom and self-reliance.

Thank you for helping to make a brighterr future for these girls!

Namaste!

A former child slave now tills a successful farm
A former child slave now tills a successful farm
Mina is still in college while running her salon
Mina is still in college while running her salon
Sita runs a successful pig farm
Sita runs a successful pig farm

Links:

Olga Murray marching with freed Kamlari
Olga Murray marching with freed Kamlari

Dear Friends,

The day of the Maghe Sankranti festival this year, January 15, 2014, was a very special one for the daughters of the Tharu community of Western Nepal. Unlike past festivals, they didn’t have to worry that their parents would sell them off as “Kamlari,’ or indentured servants.

“Kamlari Freedom Day” — celebrated with a march, and many speeches by government “thulo manchhes” (big shots) — was also special for me. It was a once-in-a-lifetime-I-never-thought-I’d-see-the-day event!

NYF ignited a movement
Since 2000, NYF has been working to eradicate this pernicious custom by liberating over 12,000 girls from bondage and bringing them home to live with their families, providing their parents with a piglet or a goat to make up for the girls’ wages, placing the liberated girls in school, and carrying out an energetic awareness campaign to turn the Tharu mothers and fathers against the practice. This, along with lawsuits against employers who persisted in enslaving their little girl servants and heavy lobbying with the government, has brought freedom not only to the present generation of child servants, but to their daughters and their daughters’ daughters as well.

As I sat on the stage for what seemed hours, I harkened back to the time of my first visit to Dang thirteen years ago, almost to the day. That time, the context was entirely different. I thought of the little orphan girl I saw that day sobbing relentlessly by her uncle’s side, begging not to be sent back to work for her callous employer — while her uncle told us, without shame, that he had sold her and her sister to pay for the cost of his son’s wedding.

Freedom for future generations
I was similarly clueless about what was being said by the many speakers on Kamlari Freedom Day, but I knew with certainty that that little girl did not spend the rest of her childhood as a kitchen slave, and that this was true of other Tharu girls of her generation and generations to come. The proof was before my eyes, as I looked down at a sea of faces of freed, assertive former Kamlari, including 30 who had just passed their college entrance examinations and were headed for higher education.

When it came my turn to speak, I wish I could have just shouted the Tharu equivalent of “You go girls!”

Thank you everyone, for supporting NYF through the years and helping to make this amazing new freedom possible.

With appreciation,

Olga Murray
Founder & Honorary President

Olga Murray honored at Kamlari Freedom Day
Olga Murray honored at Kamlari Freedom Day
Swastika was also rescued this year by NYF
Swastika was also rescued this year by NYF
Gita is one of 42 Kamlari rescued this year
Gita is one of 42 Kamlari rescued this year

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Organization

Project Leader

James McIntosh

Sausalito, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Free Bonded Nepali Girls