In 2011 a total of 1111 girls were rescued from virtual slavery from five districts of Nepal: 85 in Dang 318 in Bardiya, 453 in Kailalai, 77 in Bake and 178 in Kanchanpur. Many of those rescued joined the Freed Kamlaris Development Forum (FKDF).
FKDF is an organization of girls and young women who have been rescued from indentured servitude, most of them through the help of the Nepal Youth Foundation’s Indentured Daughters Program (IDP). The FKDF mission is to end the practice of families selling the services of their daughters (and sons), to help ensure the education and ongoing freedom of these children, and to create business opportunities and cooperatives through which those rescued can develop self-sustaining economies for themselves and their families.
Every year, members of the FKDF rally together in December and January during the festival of the Maghi, which is the Tharu New Year and the time when contracts for child labor are often renewed or renegotiated. This year, an even larger number of freed Kamlaris showed up to protest the practice. They mobilized the local youth clubs, child clubs, and Badhgar (communal leaders) committees as well as the print and the electronic media. The major awareness activities included door-to-door visits, putting up posters and pamphlets, bicycle rallies, interaction programs, culture shows, street dramas and media mobilization. Transit points were blocked to check and rescue girls who were being taken away by contract employers.
These committed former Kamlaris hosted special awareness programs in all the districts celebrating the Maghi Festival. Through presentations, lectures and performances, the FKDF educated the children, young adults, parents and Badghar committees about the realities of this abominable practice. The young women of the FKDF also held press conferences and public hearings. Most emotional and heart-rending were the interactions with parents of Kamlaris who, once sold into servitude, disappeared.
Sixty-nine percent of the funds needed to continue this work comes from the Nepal Youth Foundation, which means, it comes from you. Thank you for continuing to support the liberation of children from bonded servitude. With your help, in their lifetimes, this form of slavery can vanish forever into the history books.
Former Kamlari Development Forum (FKDF)
For more than a dozen years now, the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) has been rescuing girls from bonded servitude through our Indentured Daughters Program (IDP). Even before the Nepal government ruled that this practice was illegal a decade ago, NYF was helping little girls return home and get back into school. However, even though this age-old practice was outlawed, many impoverished families have continued the practice in order to earn enough money to support the rest of the family.
Now, a group of young women who lived the life of bonded servants, or Kamlari's, have banded together for the purpose of rescuing the remaining girls and ending this custom forever. The girls have created their own NGO and call themselves Former Kamlari Development Forum (FKDF). Trained by NYF staff in the methods of liberating bonded girls, members of FKDF are very effective in defending the rights of these younger girls and gaining their release. Sometimes this is achieved by simply making it very clear to the parents and the "employers" that the practice is illegal and has been for some years. Other times, threatening legal or criminal action gains compliance.
One area in which they have also been gaining success is in convincing employers to pay back wages for the girls who have served in their households for years without pay.
Many of these former Kamlari's are now in college or have started their own businesses to provide work for themselves and their freed "sisters." And, it is the intention of NYF to enable the women of the FKDF to take full control of the Indentured Daughters Program in the next few years.
To read more about FKDF, our Indentured Daugters Program and NYF's many other projects for the welfare of Nepalese children, please visit our website, www.nepalyouthfoundation.org
The Nepal Youth Foundation has started to rescue children with HIV/AIDS!
The New Life Center in Kathmandu, Nepal provides excellent treatment to children with HIV/AIDS while teaching their parents to live hygienically and cook nutritious meals. This training dramatically reduces the risk of acquiring the illnesses that make HIV develop into AIDS, and lets HIV-infected people lead fulfilling lives. Find out more about this pioneering project!
NYF's founder Olga Murray describes falling in love with Nepal
She also discusses NYF’s diverse programs for children and the organization's plans for the future, in an interview in the Napa Valley Register.
Read an interview about NYF's life-changing projects!
Read an interview with the Nepal Youth Foundation's Development Director, Gregg Tully, about NYF's work to end child slavery in Nepal, scholarships, and children's homes. Also watch a video in which a blind Nepali girl describes the happiest moment in her life.
NYF earns its fourth consecutive four-star rating
Because of our exceptional fiscal management, the Nepal Youth Foundation received its fourth four-star rating – the highest possible – from Charity Navigator, America's largest evaluator of charities. Only 8% of the charities evaluated receive four consecutive four-star ratings. This indicates our extremely efficient and effective implementation of the funds that you, our donors, contribute.
A hair salon held a fundraiser to rescue enslaved Nepali girls!
Salon Amour in Walnut Creek, California donated 100% of their proceeds for a day to NYF, and raised $5,000 – enough to rescue 50 girls! Find out more about how they did it at http://www.callandresponse.com/blog/?p=753. Can you hold a fundraiser, too? Read about many creative and fun ways you can help NYF rescue needy children:
Please donate today to enable the Nepal Youth Foundation to give unimagined opportunities to some of the most destitute children on earth. It only costs $100 to rescue a girl from bonded servitude and let her get an education.
The Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF) uses an integrated approach to address the multitude of challenges facing Nepali children and empowers them to fulfill their dreams. To learn more about how NYOF’s diverse programs provide freedom for enslaved girls, nutrition, education, loving homes, and much more, visit http://www.NYOF.org .
Olga Murray, who founded the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF) 20 years ago, just turned 85. We celebrated this combined anniversary and birthday in San Francisco with around 200 of Olga and NYOF’s friends and supporters.
Watch ABC TV's VIDEO about NYOF’s work in Nepal and Olga's party! The video shows the results of the decades NYOF and Olga have spent helping Nepali Children, including rescuing girls who have been enslaved as bonded servants. http://nyof.org/newsroom/video.html#abc2
NYOF has rescued close to 10,000 girls from slave-like servitude, and more than 3,500 have been saved in the current year alone. NYOF will soon eliminate the tradition of selling Nepali girls into bondage. Read this news article about our accomplishments: http://nyof.org/newsroom/newsmedia.html#irin
"Happy Birthday Olga Mummy!" Watch this adorable VIDEO of the children of J and K House, the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation's excellent homes for children, sending Olga Murray birthday greetings. http://nyof.org/newsroom/video.html#birthday
Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On May 12-14 he visited sites in Dang and Bardia districts in western Nepal that are part of the Indentured Daughters Program of NYOF and its implementing partners (Help Society Nepal, SWAN and Friends of Needy Children). His “Postcard” from the visit:
Durgi and Kabita Chaudhry are living examples of the concept behind the Indentured Daughters Program at work. A few years ago, the sisters were rescued from a life of servitude and their family given two goats. That pair of goats quickly became seven goats. At the start of this school year, the family didn’t have enough to pay the school fees. (NYOF had been covering these fees, but this year the government is taking over the program, and budget delays caused a delay in disbursements.) So the family sold one of the goats to keep the girls in school. Success.
Realizing that just removing a girl from servitude doesn’t address the root cause of the problem, the Indentured Daughters Program of NYOF and its partners seeks to make the girls and, in some areas, their families more financially stable so that the pressure to resort to selling the girl for labor is reduced. They provide vocational training in sewing, making bamboo crafts and henna, running a restaurant, among others. They’ve also started co-ops run by and for kamalary (the local word for girls sold in to servitude) so that their families have a place to turn when expenses arise unexpectedly.
We stopped in many sewing shops, craft-making shops and a restaurant established by NYOF in conjunction with young women and run by these former kamalary. NYOF and partners often continue to support these businesses, for instance giving the seamstresses a contract to make the uniforms of other NYOF recipients, and a few voiced concerns about these guaranteed orders going away as NYOF hands over operations in the area to the government. If these businesses and their owners are to be truly independent and stable, they should be able to prosper without outside help.
The government is taking over the program, as it is doing with another NYOF program for rehabilitating malnourished children (see link below)--high official praise. I’ve written elsewhere that in the NGO world, imitation is the highest sign of a successful approach. As the delay in disbursing money for the program indicates, there will now be more bureaucracy to deal with but the government has far more and steadier resources with which to run and expand the program.
Which in speaking with the District Education Office in Bardia, it sounds like they are keener than I had expected to do. They talked about increasing the stipend the girls receive next year (perhaps doubling it). And they are interested in “flexible classes”, which would allow for older girls to catch up to their peers’ education level in special classes—sparing them the awkward situation of studying in a class of girls they stand literally head and shoulders above.
In Dang Province, where NYOF and its local partners have been working the longest, they claim the practice has been eliminated—evidenced by the fact that there are almost no girls younger than 14 in the local forum for former kamalary. In Bardia at least there has been a slight shift toward selling sons as the trade in girls is clamped down. NYOF has commissioned a report on this and while the number of indentured boys is far less than the number of girls who were until recently in servitude, it’s a problem that will hopefully soon also be eradicated.
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