Former Kamlari Development Forum (FKDF)
For more than a dozen years now, the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) has been rescuing girls from bonded servitude through our Indentured Daughters Program (IDP). Even before the Nepal government ruled that this practice was illegal a decade ago, NYF was helping little girls return home and get back into school. However, even though this age-old practice was outlawed, many impoverished families have continued the practice in order to earn enough money to support the rest of the family.
Now, a group of young women who lived the life of bonded servants, or Kamlari's, have banded together for the purpose of rescuing the remaining girls and ending this custom forever. The girls have created their own NGO and call themselves Former Kamlari Development Forum (FKDF). Trained by NYF staff in the methods of liberating bonded girls, members of FKDF are very effective in defending the rights of these younger girls and gaining their release. Sometimes this is achieved by simply making it very clear to the parents and the "employers" that the practice is illegal and has been for some years. Other times, threatening legal or criminal action gains compliance.
One area in which they have also been gaining success is in convincing employers to pay back wages for the girls who have served in their households for years without pay.
Many of these former Kamlari's are now in college or have started their own businesses to provide work for themselves and their freed "sisters." And, it is the intention of NYF to enable the women of the FKDF to take full control of the Indentured Daughters Program in the next few years.
To read more about FKDF, our Indentured Daugters Program and NYF's many other projects for the welfare of Nepalese children, please visit our website, www.nepalyouthfoundation.org
The Nepal Youth Foundation has started to rescue children with HIV/AIDS! The New Life Center in Kathmandu, Nepal provides excellent treatment to children with HIV/AIDS while teaching their parents to live hygienically and cook nutritious meals. This training dramatically reduces the risk of acquiring the illnesses that make HIV develop into AIDS, and lets HIV-infected people lead fulfilling lives. Find out more about this pioneering project!http://www.nepalyouthfoundation.org/programs/health/newlife.html
NYF's founder Olga Murray describes falling in love with NepalShe also discusses NYF’s diverse programs for children and the organization's plans for the future, in an interview in the Napa Valley Register. http://bit.ly/8XzPn6
Read an interview about NYF's life-changing projects!Read an interview with the Nepal Youth Foundation's Development Director, Gregg Tully, about NYF's work to end child slavery in Nepal, scholarships, and children's homes. Also watch a video in which a blind Nepali girl describes the happiest moment in her life.http://bit.ly/9Fihbt
NYF earns its fourth consecutive four-star ratingBecause of our exceptional fiscal management, the Nepal Youth Foundation received its fourth four-star rating – the highest possible – from Charity Navigator, America's largest evaluator of charities. Only 8% of the charities evaluated receive four consecutive four-star ratings. This indicates our extremely efficient and effective implementation of the funds that you, our donors, contribute.
A hair salon held a fundraiser to rescue enslaved Nepali girls! Salon Amour in Walnut Creek, California donated 100% of their proceeds for a day to NYF, and raised $5,000 – enough to rescue 50 girls! Find out more about how they did it at http://www.callandresponse.com/blog/?p=753. Can you hold a fundraiser, too? Read about many creative and fun ways you can help NYF rescue needy children:http://www.nepalyouthfoundation.org/howtohelp/supporters.html
Please donate today to enable the Nepal Youth Foundation to give unimagined opportunities to some of the most destitute children on earth. It only costs $100 to rescue a girl from bonded servitude and let her get an education.http://www.nepalyouthfoundation.org/howtohelp/index.html
The Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF) uses an integrated approach to address the multitude of challenges facing Nepali children and empowers them to fulfill their dreams. To learn more about how NYOF’s diverse programs provide freedom for enslaved girls, nutrition, education, loving homes, and much more, visit http://www.NYOF.org .
Olga Murray, who founded the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF) 20 years ago, just turned 85. We celebrated this combined anniversary and birthday in San Francisco with around 200 of Olga and NYOF’s friends and supporters.
Watch ABC TV's VIDEO about NYOF’s work in Nepal and Olga's party!
The video shows the results of the decades NYOF and Olga have spent helping Nepali Children, including rescuing girls who have been enslaved as bonded servants.
NYOF has rescued close to 10,000 girls from slave-like servitude, and more than 3,500 have been saved in the current year alone. NYOF will soon eliminate the tradition of selling Nepali girls into bondage. Read this news article about our accomplishments:
"Happy Birthday Olga Mummy!"
Watch this adorable VIDEO of the children of J and K House, the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation's excellent homes for children, sending Olga Murray birthday greetings.
Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On May 12-14 he visited sites in Dang and Bardia districts in western Nepal that are part of the Indentured Daughters Program of NYOF and its implementing partners (Help Society Nepal, SWAN and Friends of Needy Children). His “Postcard” from the visit:
Durgi and Kabita Chaudhry are living examples of the concept behind the Indentured Daughters Program at work. A few years ago, the sisters were rescued from a life of servitude and their family given two goats. That pair of goats quickly became seven goats. At the start of this school year, the family didn’t have enough to pay the school fees. (NYOF had been covering these fees, but this year the government is taking over the program, and budget delays caused a delay in disbursements.) So the family sold one of the goats to keep the girls in school. Success.
Realizing that just removing a girl from servitude doesn’t address the root cause of the problem, the Indentured Daughters Program of NYOF and its partners seeks to make the girls and, in some areas, their families more financially stable so that the pressure to resort to selling the girl for labor is reduced. They provide vocational training in sewing, making bamboo crafts and henna, running a restaurant, among others. They’ve also started co-ops run by and for kamalary (the local word for girls sold in to servitude) so that their families have a place to turn when expenses arise unexpectedly.
We stopped in many sewing shops, craft-making shops and a restaurant established by NYOF in conjunction with young women and run by these former kamalary. NYOF and partners often continue to support these businesses, for instance giving the seamstresses a contract to make the uniforms of other NYOF recipients, and a few voiced concerns about these guaranteed orders going away as NYOF hands over operations in the area to the government. If these businesses and their owners are to be truly independent and stable, they should be able to prosper without outside help.
The government is taking over the program, as it is doing with another NYOF program for rehabilitating malnourished children (see link below)--high official praise. I’ve written elsewhere that in the NGO world, imitation is the highest sign of a successful approach. As the delay in disbursing money for the program indicates, there will now be more bureaucracy to deal with but the government has far more and steadier resources with which to run and expand the program.
Which in speaking with the District Education Office in Bardia, it sounds like they are keener than I had expected to do. They talked about increasing the stipend the girls receive next year (perhaps doubling it). And they are interested in “flexible classes”, which would allow for older girls to catch up to their peers’ education level in special classes—sparing them the awkward situation of studying in a class of girls they stand literally head and shoulders above.
In Dang Province, where NYOF and its local partners have been working the longest, they claim the practice has been eliminated—evidenced by the fact that there are almost no girls younger than 14 in the local forum for former kamalary. In Bardia at least there has been a slight shift toward selling sons as the trade in girls is clamped down. NYOF has commissioned a report on this and while the number of indentured boys is far less than the number of girls who were until recently in servitude, it’s a problem that will hopefully soon also be eradicated.
In July, the government of Nepal appropriated 1.6 million DOLLARS to rehabilitate young girls freed from bonded labor. This is an enormous sum in Nepal. It is the culmination of a decade of lobbying by NYOF. The funds may be used for schooling and for vocational training. To my personal delight, and at our suggestion, the funds may also be used to provide housing and an education for bonded children who have no home to return to because they are orphans or their families are homeless.
Throughout the decade since our Indentured Daughters Program started, we have asked the Nepali government not only to enforce its own laws against the bonding of children, but to educate the young girls we have liberated. (See the last story about how a former J House boy helped in this effort.) Except for some actions by local government in the areas where we have been working, the result has been – zilch. Until this year.
March to the Central Government
In February, we brought 400 girls we had previously liberated in western Nepal on a 12 hour bus ride to Kathmandu to focus the attention of the central government on this practice. They marched through the streets of Kathmandu carrying banners, chanting slogans against bonding, and distributing leaflets. We arranged appointments for them to talk with the President, various government ministers, and the UN Human Rights Commission. We believe this high-profile campaign was a major factor in convincing the central government to make its move.
NYOF is the lead organization helping the government to plan and implement its program. We are working closely with various ministries to advise them on the most effective way to use the appropriated funds, and the government has adopted almost all of our suggestions.
This action by the government is an important step in helping us to reach our goal of eradicating this inhumane custom, but by no means the end of the line. It has relieved NYOF of the responsibility of educating the girls after we have liberated them, and as a result, we can use your donations to eradicate the bonding practice itself sooner than we had anticipated. Let me explain.
The government appropriation cannot be used to liberate the girls or to carry out the awareness campaign against bonding that we have been conducting for almost a decade. Thus, NYOF will have to continue to support efforts to identify the parents of bonded girls and convince them not to sell their daughters, and to confront employers to persuade them to release the girls from their contracts. We will also have to provide the piglet or goat that the families receive from NYOF if they agree not to bond their daughters or bring them home from their labors. And we will still have to fund the local anti-bonding clubs, a weekly radio program where girls talk about their suffering when they were in bondage, and to present street dramas against the custom in these largely illiterate communities. Without NYOF’s support, there will not be large demonstrations by the liberated girls or lawsuits against employers who refuse to release them from their contracts.
These activities, which are critical to permanently eradicate the custom, must still be supported by NYOF and our donors. Our eradication campaign, including all the elements above, costs approximately $100 for each girl liberated.
Thousands Remain to be Rescued
Next January, during the Maghe Sakrante festival at which the bonding contracts are made, our staff will fan out across the five districts in west Nepal where indentured servitude of little girls is prevalent, to bring our awareness campaign to the towns and villages where we have not had the funds to operate previously. We hope to rescue the thousands of little girls still in the bonding process or prevent them from being contracted away.
When we began to confront this cruel custom in 2000, there was no opposition to bonding away children. Fathers could hardly wait for their daughters to turn seven so that they could be sold for labor. The bus park every January was filled with weeping little girls about to be parted from their families for the first time and to go off they knew not where. Today,the practice is on its last legs in the Dang District, where we have been working since 2000, and it is on its way out in Bardiya, where we brought our campaign a couple of years ago.
But there remain thousands of girls who are the victims of this custom, so there is much left to do. We have an unprecedented window of opportunity to bring the bonding practice to an end. Now we ask your continued help in finally closing this sad chapter in Nepal’s history.
We are deeply grateful for your support. Please give as generously as you can, so that we can continue to help kids in Nepal to uncover and develop their full potential. We have a proven track record in making the most of your donations – you can do more good with a dollar in Nepal than almost anywhere else, and we spend a very small percentage of donations on administration (as evidenced by our four-star rating from Charity Navigator). We hope you will help us in our efforts to make a difference in these children’s lives.
Please let us know your thoughts by providing feedback in our comments section! Also, please tell your friends, family and colleagues about NYOF’s accomplishments!
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