Rescuing Young Girls From Bonded Labor in Nepal

by Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF)
Feb 25, 2008

Dang District Free of Bonded Servants!

Olga’s dispatch from Kathmandu

Dear Friends:

It’s a while since I have been in touch. I arrived in Nepal at the end of November for my annual six month stay. It’s good to be back again to resume my second life and to see how our programs are going.

I returned last week from the Dang District in west Nepal, where we operate our program for indentured girls. It was a thrilling experience. For one thing, we have almost eradicated the bonding custom in the Dang District (one of five in which it is prevalent) and moved on to the adjoining district to do the same. To celebrate, a huge demonstration was organized – over 2000 girls who had been rescued from bondage marching through the main town, chanting slogans against the practice and distributing flyers to the onlookers. A certain 82 year old woman was by their side, striding along and mouthing the slogans with more enthusiasm than comprehension. At times, I had a sense of unreality – how did someone who grew up in New York and was a lawyer in San Francisco for 37 years end up in remote west Nepal, marching with thousands of formerly bonded girls against a feudal custom? Life is unpredictable, to say the least.

We visited the beautiful but very poor villages, talking to the parents of formerly bonded girls and to their daughters about their experiences. At times, it was painful, with the mothers crying when they remembered the departure of their daughters for who-knows-where to live with and work for strangers. One child had been sent away when she was six years old to labor as a baby sitter in someone’s household. She returned before the one-year period of her contract had expired, because she was so painfully homesick and cried constantly for her mother. She is now nine – a lively, pretty, curious child. It was hard to believe that she had undergone such a traumatic experience so recently. She jumped rope, played hopscotch, peered curiously into the contents of my purse, and laughed at almost anything. This extraordinary resilience of Nepali children is one of their most outstanding and appealing characteristics. Tethered to a tree trunk near us was the goat (now pregnant) we had given her parents to compensate for her lost wages.

What was most heartening was to spend time with the girls who had returned from working as servants years ago – l6, l7, l8 years old, now in school, and passionate about ending the bonding custom. I was invited to a meeting of the club they had formed for this purpose, and was very impressed with their intelligence, enthusiasm – and beauty. When they spoke about their experiences while they were contracted away, their voices quivered as they emphasized that whatever else happens in their lives, their little sisters would not suffer the same fate. It is these young women who will shape the future of their downtrodden community with their insistence on justice and education for Tharu girls.

We were accompanied by a film crew that is making a documentary about the bonding practice. We will send you a copy of the film when it is finished and notify you when it is aired on television. Thank you for your support of NYOF over the years, which has enabled us to improve the lives of thousands of impoverished Nepali children. We would be most appreciative if you can send a donation to help us to educate the thousands of girls who have recently been freed from bondage and liberate the thousands who are still indentured. Warm regards, Olga

  • alisonv
    alisonv Thanks very much for the update. It is good to know that with only a little, it is possible to change a life. Thanks for the work you are doing and the opportunity you are giving us to share in it.
    • 9 years ago
    •  · 
  • Shelley
    Shelley It makes me very happy to know that I have made a difference, even with a small donation. Thank you so much for the update and description of the lives of these precious girls.
    • 9 years ago
    •  · 
  • Joan Ochi
    Joan Ochi This is a wonderful update. Congratulations on your successes. I hope you will post new photos on GlobalGiving soon!
    • 9 years ago
    •  · 
  • To comment you need to login. Don't have an account? Create One.

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF)

Location: Sausalito, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Olga Murray
President and Founder of NYOF
Sausalito, CA United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 121 donors like you, a total of $15,415 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Wonderful!

Still want to help?

Support another project run by Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) that needs your help, such as:

Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.