Indentured Daughters Program (IDP)
Daughers for less than $100….
In some districts of western Nepal, daughters from the Tharu community, are “sold” as bonded or indentured laborers, part of the so-called Kamlari system. Girls leave their villages to work as servants in homes of families that live in the cities far away. Sometimes the employer’s family allows them to return home once a year in mid-January, during the Maghe Sakranti festival. Labor contracts are made and renewed during Maghe Sakranti, and the fathers receive a yearly payment for their daughters’ services. The girls’ families receive about Rs. 4,000 to 8,000 a year.
Girls as young as six are bonded; most have never been away from home and may not speak their employer’s language. However, desperate poverty, the prospect of quick cash, ignorance of the law and one less mouth to feed combine to sustain this inhumane practice.
Labeled by the UN as “slavery,” we strive to end this inhumane practice through our Indentured Daughters Program (IDP), a novel but highly effective program. IDP started in 2000 from Dang District in western Nepal with the mission of rescuing such daughters. The huge success of the campaign encouraged us to expand the program to Bardiya district in 2007 where the prevalence of the Kamlaris was very high. Currently IDP has been successfully running in six districts: Dang, Banke, Bardia, Kailali, Kanchanpur and Surkhet.
Since 2000, IDP has successfully rescued more than 96% of the Kamlaris. Out of 12,776 Kamlaris identified in the survey, 11,993 girls have already been rescued and rehabilitated through education, skill training and livelihood opportunities.
Our aim is to abolish this system of child slavery and for the purpose we are intensely lobbying with the Government of Nepal, and we have influenced the government on some important policy formulation regarding the rehabilitation of the Kamlaris.