Every year around this time, we pause to remember one young boy whose story is so captivating that it launched the organization behind this project.
Iqbal’s childhood wasn’t just stolen. It was sold for the equivalent of just $12. At the age of four he was sold into bonded labor, forced to work 14 hours a day in Pakistan’s rug industry. While other children were making friends and learning to read, Iqbal worked six days a week. His hands bled, but his spirit never broke.
When he escaped at age 10, Iqbal made it his mission to save other "carpet kids" like him who were trapped slaving in the handmade rug industry. He traveled for two years sharing his story and lending his voice to the fight against child labor. Rare footage of him during this time is shared in the link in this report.
On April 16, Easter Sunday 1995, Iqbal was brutally murdered. His voice silenced by the carpet mafia he exposed.
Iqbal is gone, but his legacy lives on. It lives on in this project that you so generously support.
Two weeks ago, on Valentine's Day, our team in Nepal found 13-year-old Rajkumar toiling on a carpet loom. He was forced to work to pay off a debt owed by his brother. In other words, he was a victim of bonded labor.
We want to share three photographs that capture critical moments of Rajkumar's rescue.
The first picture was taken shortly after he was found. His clothes were torn, and he was still afraid, but you can see the hint of a smile developing across his lips.
The second picture is Rajkumar being counseled by our veteran staffperson. Drona has been with GoodWeave for the better part of two decades, and is incredibly compassionate and adept when working with vulnerable children and communities.
The third picture was taken the next day, after Rajkumar had been brought to our transit center in Kathmandu. This is the moment he walked out in his brand new school uniform. Before that afternoon, Rajkumar had only been enrolled in school for three months of his 13 years.
These three moments - and the many more uplifting ones to follow for Rajkumar - are what this project is all about. This is what your support makes possible.
From Rajkumar and all of us -- thank you.
We recently received an envelope from our rescue center Hamro Ghar in Kathmandu, Nepal - home to "carpet kids" we find working on looms who have no safe place or family to return to. Inside the package were watercolors that our beneficiaries had drawn - inspired by the concept of freedom.
When asked by their teacher what freedom means to them, many of the kids answered with words like “food,” “doctor” and “education”—things we in this country take for granted as basic rights for children. Hamro Ghar provides those necessities so that rescued children can imagine even greater freedoms. The watercolor seen here, created by Sanju, offers a glimpse into that transformative moment when freedom awakens in a child. It represents her journey from the grueling, stunting, unjust work of being a child laborer—which impacts 215 million children around the world—to the happy, healthy girl she is today.
I share this with you because I want you to know: your donation not only helps us rescue children from looms—you’re giving them the freedom to shape their future as they embark on a new life. Thank you for all your support of the project Rescue And Educate "Carpet Kids" In South Asia, at this year-end season and all year long.
With gratitude and best wishes for a happy holiday season,
With your support of the project Rescue And Educate "Carpet Kids" In South Asia project, GoodWeave has worked for many years to rescue children from labor and exploitation to transition them to school. Eleven-year-old Maya, a beneficiary of GoodWeave programs, is one success story.
Growing up in Nepal, Maya watched as her two older brothers were sent to work as servants to repay their father’s gambling loan of $34. Maya dreaded she’d be next, and then she was.
Maya was taken to a Kathmandu carpet factory and forced to weave rugs to pay off her father’s latest loan. There she suffered silently through taunts and beatings, stomachaches and fevers. She accepted that she would grow up illiterate, just like her brothers.
Then, earlier this year, on February 28th, Maya was rescued by GoodWeave inspectors. Today, 11-year-old Maya is happy to have a safe home at the GoodWeave center and the opportunity to go to school. She is a disciplined and diligent student. Maya hasn’t decided what she wants to be yet, but that’s okay. Thanks to your committed support to Rescue And Educate "Carpet Kids" In South Asia project, she can now choose her own future.
PS. Just a reminder that on October 17th is GlobalGiving’s final Bonus Day of the 2012. GlobalGiving is offering a match on all donations given on that day. This is a fantastic opportunity to increase the impact of your support to help end child labor and transform the lives of the thousands of children trapped in carpet work.
Also, please help us spread the word about this opportunity to your family and friends through Facebook and email.
Thank you for being a part of the movement to end child labor, on June 12th—World Day Against Child Labor—and year-round. I wanted to share an update about how GoodWeave in Nepal commemorated the occasion earlier this summer. I promise it will make you smile.
In recognition of World Day Against Child Labor, rescued child weavers at our rehabilitation center in Kathmandu put on a talent show presenting their dancing, singing, poetry and storytelling.
The winning performance came from a young boy who choreographed an amazing routine—his break dance moves and free spiritedness are all possible because now he can spend time on hobbies and classes, rather than exploitative work.
In addition to the talent show, this project also brought in health technicians to do a regular health check-up for the beneficiaries. Many kids who are forced to work in the carpet industry suffer respiratory disease, spinal deformities, wounds from sharp tools, and even premature arthritis.
Without our GlobalGiving supporters, neither of these events would have been possible. Thank you for contributing to the project Rescue and educate "carpet kids" in South Asia. Hopefully, with you by our side, one day soon we’ll instead be celebrating a new day—the day we end child labor.
With gratitude,Nina Smith
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GoodWeave Executive Director