Last month, Asma and her husband Jamil arrived in Mewat, Haryana from West Bengal – over 900 miles away – to work in the area’s brick kiln factories. Returning home only when the factories close during Mewat’s monsoon season, the couple brings their three daughters to labor at their side. Asmina, 8, Jamina, 6, and Jamila, 4 are already well acquainted with the harsh, hot monotony of the brick kilns that they will likely face the rest of their lives.
Last year, however, Asma and Jamil took an opportunity to send their two older girls to a school in the nearest village. Every morning, Asmina and Jamina walked away from the sweltering kilns to spend their mornings learning among other youngsters like themselves. The possibility of a life beyond the factories’ 16-hour days beckoned, until one day Jamina, then 5, was accosted on her way home from school. A boy from the village attacked her, beating her badly. Asma pulled both girls from school.
This year when Lotus Outreach approached Jamil and Asma to enroll their daughters, the couple resisted. Even though a brick kiln is no place for a child to spend her days, sending her unescorted to a school far from their protection was worse. Asma said that although she would love to send her girls back to school, she would only allow them to go if they have safe transportation.
Last week, Lotus Outreach officers brought a van to take Asmina and Jamina to the village to enroll. Between threats from higher-caste bullies and trucks and tractors on the small, pot-holed roads the children walk upon, the dangers of walking several kilometers to school are a serious deterrent for parents. To shore up support for these children, Lotus Outreach will be providing van transportation for 100 kids like Asmina and Jamina in a pilot program to begin next week. Your continued support will help us make sure these little ones can finish what they’ve started – the long climb towards self-sufficiency and economic independence.
Watch video of Asmina and Jamina riding to school at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6TdhTEB_I4&feature=channel!
You can help us get transportation to more brick kiln children by making an additional donation at http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/endchildlabor/.