International Childcare Trust has been working in partnership with Rural Environment & Empowerment Centre (REEC) since 2009, supporting Brighter Futures for Child Labourers, a project that aims to provide vital support to child labourers in western Nepal and prevent other vulnerable, at-risk children entering exploitative and hazardous employment.
It is evident from REEC’s work with the communities that when families are not economically secure, children end up working to supplement the family income. Family-based livelihood support is therefore crucial to preventing child labour and withdrawing children from exploitative and hazardous employment. As part of the project REEC has established 10 Child Labour Parent Groups (CLPGs) throughout the district, with all women members. Through these groups, REEC raises awareness among parents on child rights and hazards of child labour; the women also receive financial support for income generation activities as well as training on basic business skills and savings and credit concepts.
Pabitra, a member of Shantideep CLPG, is a woman belonging to the historically and traditionally discriminated and marginalised Dalit community. Her only dream was to be free from debt and lead a socially respectable life. As she could not afford to have goats of her own, Pabitra used to take care of other peoples’ goats for meagre wages. Her husband worked as a stone breaker and both their wages put together could not feed their family of seven. When her husband fell ill, her family either had to borrow from others or had to go hungry. One day her youngest son asked her for a notebook and pencil for school, she was compelled to say "go to work instead of wasting your time reading."
She became a member of the parents groups after her son joined a Child Labour Club. She obtained a grant from the group to buy a goat and begin earning money by selling milk. She says that it now much easier to run the household.
"I feel ashamed that my son was nearly to leave school because of poverty but there was no alternative. But nowadays it is easier to run our daily lives and it is not necessary to stop children from gaining from the bright light of education. REEC changed my life as well as knowledge. My children will be one of the good citizens after his education.”
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