Young children who are born into some of the poorest countries are the target of slave traders.While it’s common it’s also heart wrenching; each child’s story is different and compelling.
Ramesh is one such child, and thankfully he was rescued by Access Nepal with help from Naren King, founder of local business the Crystal Castle.
Nepal is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world – over a quarter of the children in the country are victims of child labour, according to www.accessnepal.org.
Access Nepal’s Gokul Subedi says that when young Ramesh’s mother died, and with his father being an alcoholic, his relatives were approached by someone from a neighbouring village who said they could give Ramesh a better life and education in the city. ‘His relatives thought the offer was a golden chance for Ramesh,’ he said.
Gokul explained that children from families where parents are illiterate, economically disadvantaged and have other complicating factors are easy targets for exploitation.
‘Generally, it’s neither a family’s or a child’s wish to go away to the city. It’s primarily an employer’s or middleman’s wish and ploy to take a child away from the family.’
At the age of ten, Ramesh was was forced to work first as a domestic worker and then in a restaurant in Kathmandu. Following his rescue from the restaurant by Access Nepal – and with the help of Crystal Castle founder Naren King – Ramesh lived in a transit home for three years, where he spent time re-learning how to be a child and attended school.
Gokul said, ‘Because of the torture and tremendous amount of work, their natural processes of childhood have been blocked. They never had a chance to be children during work.’
Thankfully Ramesh has been happily reunited with his family and now lives with his grandmother.
Coupled with low literacy rates, inadequate legal protection of children, and cultural acceptance of child labour there are significant challenges to improving the lives of these children.
Access Nepal runs four outreach centres providing 80 child labourers with access to education, recreational activities and the chance to reunite with their families.
The Crystal Castle continues to work with Access Nepal, Team Nepal, ABARI and Hands with Hands to raise money to fund a range of programs within Nepal.
They raised $10,000 to rebuild 12 classrooms and educate local people on how to build ecological and earthquake-proof homes in the Sindhupalchok region following the devastation of the 2015 earthquakes.