By Jacqueline Frost | Development and Communications Manager
NYF rescues some of Nepal's last remaining Kamlari
In a concerted push to rescue the last 376 girls still held as slaves in the homes of wealthy and powerful Nepali families, NYF this month launched an intensive effort to find and free them.
NYF rescued two girls in December– Jayarani and Jugri – who were working in the homes of wealthy businessmen in Kathmandu. Jayarani was seven when her parents sold her as a Kamlari. She remained for nine years. Despite promises made by her employers, she never went to school nor had they paid her family the meager amount of money they promised for her work. Jugri was forced to work as a Kamlari to reimburse a family for paying for a needed ear operation. She worked for a year to pay off her debt, and still worried that she still owed the family.
The girls are now safely sheltered and are receiving counseling before returning to their families. NYF will provide the girls with an education, skills training and counseling to help them transition to freedom. Despite the recent abolition of the Kamlari system, an estimated 376 girls are still enslaved according to a recent survey, and 89 of them are in Kathmandu. NYF has freed more than 12,000 girls since it began its movement in 1990.
By Robin Woodland | Director of Development and Communications
Bandhiya started a successful tailoring business
As the freed Kamlaris finish school or vocational training, an increasing number of the girls are joining cooperatives to start their own businesses.
Last year, 65 members of different cooperatives obtained low-interest loans from a fund of $19,254 provided by Nepal Youth Foundation to start businesses in poultry, fishing, retail, carpentry, auto repair and vegetable farming.
We also registered 15 new cooperatives last year and now operate 32 different cooperative ventures.
Since 2000, we have freed more than 12,000 girls from indentured servitude, and we now must work to empower them through vocational training, leadership development and economic opportunities. The cooperatives are a good way to build community and provide the financial resources the girls need to become independent.
A former Kamlari, Bandhiya trained as a seamstress and borrowed money from a cooperative to start her own tailoring business. She has hired five girls and now runs a profitable business.
Thank you for your generosity. Your support has helped young women like Bandhiya make the transition from a household servant to a successful business owner. Namaste.
By James McIntosh | Interim Director of Development
Freed Kamlari protest in Kathmandu
As NYF's Indentured Daughters Program matures, many of the young women rescued over the past two decades are now leaders of the Freed Kamlari Development Forum (FKDF). These women understand, as no one else can, the reasons for abolishing child slavery in Nepal.
Hundreds of these women took to the streets last March and demanded that the Nepal government abolish the practice of indentured servitude and investigate the suspicious disappearance of 40 Kamlari girls. The government listened, and in July, officials banned the practice. Government officials also promised to investigate the suspicious disappearance of Kamlari girls. FKDF members are monitoring the government’s actions to make certain they are keeping their promise.
Nevertheless, while it is illegal, the current reality is that destitute parents continue to sell their children into indentured servitude and about 500 Kamlari are still held captive by the most powerful people in the country – top police officers, government officials, the rich, politicians and those protected by politicians. NYF fears these powerful people will kill the girls or force them to commit suicide to keep their own abusive behavior from becoming public.
Your help as desperately needed now as ever before to keep innocent children safe from the dangers of being sold to foreign brokers who take the children far from their villages.
Thank you again for your support of the Nepal Youth Foundation. Namaste!
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