First, I would like to thank you for your generous contributions to our program to Rescue Girls from Bonded Servitude (www.nepalyouthfoundation.org/programs/freedom). This project’s impressive accomplishments, including rescuing more than 12,000 Nepali girls from virtual slavery, would not be possible without the support of people like you.
Additionally, I want to tell you that I am retiring as the President of the Nepal Youth Foundation and that the Board has appointed Som Paneru, our former Executive Director in Nepal, as my successor.
This is bittersweet – on the one hand, I am leaving a position to which I had devoted the last 25 years of my life. On the other, I’m taking a step toward fulfilling my most ardent wish – that the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) continue to provide life-changing help to the neediest children of Nepal. The appointment of Som as the new President will bring to NYF the skills, the passion, the smarts, the creativity, and the experience to assure its future long after I am gone. NYF has a bright future.
Let me tell you a bit about Som. He is a product of NYF’s scholarship program and the son of a poor farmer from the Ghorka District of Nepal. In the 1990s, after we granted him a scholarship to Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu to study science and math, he brought several of his young siblings to Kathmandu from his village to assure that they, too, would receive an education. He enrolled them in school in the city, and provided all the care they needed, and full support. Several of his siblings now have advanced degrees.
After Som graduated, he wanted to teach, but not in a private school for rich kids, but in a poor village where the instruction in science and math was pitifully inadequate. He explained that he had "a lot to pay back" to those who had helped him to get an education.
NYF was growing quickly, and in 1995 we offered Som a job. It became apparent very quickly that he had an uncanny knack for creating and administering programs. Our very popular Indentured Daughters Program was his idea, and he was instrumental in creating the ingenious "piglet for a girl" method to liberate these young girls from slavery (www.nepalyouthfoundation.org/programs/freedom). And it was his idea and his excellent relations with the Ministry of Health that led to the government agreeing to take over and fund all the 14 Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes we have built after we operate them for five years (http://nepalyouthfoundation.org/programs/health/nrhindex.html).
I will continue to be involved with NYF, of course. I hold the post of Honorary President, and will continue as a member of the Board of Directors. It is hard to exaggerate the pleasure your support and encouragement have given me over these many years. It has enabled NYF to grow from a tiny organization to what we are today – a well-run foundation providing transformative help to thousands of Nepali children every year.
Warm regards, Olga Murray Founder and Honorary Board President Nepal Youth Foundation
P.S. Please learn more about the Nepal Youth Foundation’s diverse programs for children in need at www.NepalYouthFoundation.org.
By Archana Chaudhary:
My family of six could not manage even two decent meals a day and so my father sent me away to work as a servant. This was the start of my most miserable days in life. My daily routine was waking up at dawn, mopping the floor, scrubbing dishes, washing clothes, cleaning the shed, and collecting fodder for cattle. I had to do all of these jobs, even when my strength and health failed me. For all the work I did, my family got $20 per year. Almost every day I used to get beaten by the children of my master. There was no one to look after me when I was ill and most days I went to sleep without dinner.
After two years, I was rescued from this misery. I had always dreamed of getting an education. This year, I graduated from high school with honors.
Now I want to become a journalist so I can raise my voice against the bonding system. In future I would also like to be a lawyer so I can advocate for the needy and the voiceless people.
The Nepal Youth Foundation rescues girls from spending their childhoods enslaved as indentured servants, reunited them with their families, and enables them to attend school and vocational training, so they can become self-sufficient. NYF will soon eliminate the practice of selling Nepali girls into servitude. Learn more about this pioneering program at www.NepalYouthFoundation.org
P.S. To get the latest news about the Nepal Youth Foundation’s work for Nepali children in need, please join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nepalyouth
In rural Nepal, some families are so impoverished that they sell their daughters to be virtual slaves. Many of these girls are abused, almost none attend school, and some are forced into prostitution. After spending their childhoods as servants, the girls face great challenges learning to support themselves. Now boys are also being sold into bonded servitude.
The Nepal Youth Foundation is eradicating this abhorrent tradition. NYF’s Indentured Daughters Program rescues girls from virtual slavery, brings them home to be educated, and empowers them to be self-sufficient.
The pioneering Indentured Daughters Program uses a multifaceted approach to free girls who were sold into servitude. For only $100, the Nepal Youth Foundation liberates a bonded servant, brings her home, gives her family a piglet, goat, or sheep as compensation for her wages, and ensures she can go to school – often for the first time in her life. NYF is eliminating the inhumane practice of enslaving girls in Nepal through a vigorous public awareness campaign that turns communities against the practice, as well as by rescuing bonded servants.
NYF has freed 11,951 girls since the program began in 2000. 7,433 of them are currently receiving scholarships. NYF has now liberated more than 90% of the bonded girls and is close to its goal of ending the custom.
The program has been so effective that schools in the area began to overflow with former indentured servants. To ensure they have access to quality education, NYF constructs classrooms in poorly funded schools. The organization has built 58 classrooms to date.
Some of the girls NYF rescues are orphans and others are rejected or abused by their families. The organization has placed 357 of these girls in children’s homes where they are surrounded by other former bonded servants and feel a sense of family.
Due to the success of the project, wealthy families began buying boys instead of girls. A recent survey estimated that 1,814 boys younger than 14 were indentured in Nepal. NYF began to address this in 2011–2012 by liberating 650 of them. 547 are currently attending school.
Sustainability of the Program
Now that the vast majority of the bonded girls are free, the Nepal Youth Foundation has shifted its focus from rescuing them to empowering them to be independent and successful. In 2011-2012, almost 500 former bonded servants participated in trainings about topics such as cooperative management, marketing, self-employment, and small business management. These programs develop their confidence as well as their skills and enable them to start their own businesses. NYF arranged training in political activism and human rights for about 100 of the most dynamic girls who show the greatest potential to become leaders of the movement against bonding.
Under NYF’s guidance, many of the girls have formed cooperatives that create financial opportunities for themselves and their families. They invest in the coops to become members, and collectively decide how to use the money to generate income. They also borrow money from the cooperatives to start business ventures. Due to the girls’ determination and newfound confidence, as well as the trainings provided, the coops have been extremely successful. To date, liberated girls have established 16 cooperatives and are in the process of forming 12 more.
Furthermore, former indentured servants have formed an NGO called the Freed Kamlari Development Forum (FKDF). NYF trains its members to carry out the awareness campaign against servitude which NYF started, and since June 2010, all of NYF’s work in the program area has been conducted through FKDF. FKDF is now organizing marches and public speeches, as well as mobilizing youth clubs, community leaders, and the media in the campaign to oppose bonded servitude. In collaboration with FKDF, NYF convinced the government of Nepal to fund the education and vocational training of all formerly bonded girls.
Because this money was not being allocated properly, in 2011-2012, NYF arranged for the leaders of FKDF to meet repeatedly with the President, Prime Minister, Education Minister, and other high-ranking government officials. The Prime Minister promised that the government funding for the liberated girls would get to where it was needed.
Through FKDF and the cooperatives, former indentured daughters have established an extensive network throughout Western Nepal that empowers them to fulfill their dreams.
Despite the efforts of the Nepal Youth Foundation, desperate families in rural regions of Nepal continue to sell their own children into bonded servitude. Now that NYF and the Freed Kamlari Development Forum have helped to educate the Nepali public about the practice, which has caused an uproar against the selling of young girls, these families are turning to selling their sons, who, as indentured servants are known as Kamlar.
Regardless of the gender of the child, this practice must stop! Your donations are helping to turn the tide of public opinion against this practice. Yet there are thousands of children who still need our help and are crying out to be rescued.
And, now, next Wednesday, March 14 ONLY...... because we appreciate every dollar you have given to support our program, NYF is thrilled to invite you to participate in GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day event.Wednesday, March 14, 2012, GlobalGiving.org will match 30% for every dollar you donate! $50,000 in matching funds are available, but only on March 14. This 30% matching offer begins right after the stroke of midnight, March 13, and runs only until the $50,000 is claimed. Once the funds are used, no more matching funds will be applied. Add even greater value to the gifts you give NYF. Mark your calendars for NEXT Wednesday, March 14, 2012.And, GlobalGiving will make this 30% match for single contributions up to $1,000! That’s $1,300 value for a $1,000 donation.What this opportunity means for the Indentured Daughters Program is that the $1,000 gift that would normally fund the rescue of 10 enslaved children, will, on this one day, March 14, 2012, provide enough money to rescue a total of 13 little girls and boys to come home and return to school for the same donation. PLUS –
Thank you again for your support of the Nepal Youth Foundation. Namaste!Links:
In 2011, the Nepal Youth Foundation helped to rescue a total of 1111 girls from virtual slavery in five districts of Nepal. Many of those rescued joined the Freed Kamlaris Development Forum (FKDF), an organization begun and sustained by the rescued girls and young women.
During the last eight months, the FKDF has grown more and more effective in its ability to influence and persuade Nepal government leaders to make available the funds already earmarked for education of former bonded child laborers. In 2011, FKDF delegations met with two Prime Ministers who occupied the office, sequentially. Currently, the government continues to experience some instability following the end of a decades-long civil war, which resulted in the shift from a monarchy to a republic.
Yet, even in light of this instability, the FKDF delegates successfully gained agreement for support of the comprehensive Kamlari Rehabilitation Guideline and timely release of the scholarship stipend. In addition to meeting with the Prime Ministers, the delegation teams met with the Finance Minister, the Education Minister, the Department of Education, and the Center for Child Welfare Board, the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and the National Human Rights Commission.
This successful campaign for increasing attention on Kamlari issues resulted in a Department of Education commitment to increase the scholarship amount. In accordance with Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai’s directive, responsibilities were assigned to respective ministries for immediate action. The Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office has been charged with bringing the rehabilitation issue to a productive conclusion.
Thank you for supporting this historical evolution to enlighten one government’s attitude toward the treatment of children. With the Nepal government ready to educate them, there is more reason now than ever to do all we can to liberate the remaining few thousand girls and nearly 2,000 little boys that are still sold into bonded slavery. Look into the faces of these children here: http://bit.ly/uv6is2.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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