Campaign Against Forced and
We are glad that people in many places have started knowing our plight and are working to help us. Surely one day child servitude will be a thing of the past.
Ram Kumar, 9-year old freed bonded laborer
International law provides a clear and accepted consensus on the nature and definition of child labor. The ILO has adopted many international conventions on child labor. The rights of children to an education and freedom from exploitation are also clearly stated in the Convention on the Rights of Children (the Childrens Convention) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989. The Childrens Convention is the most widely ratified international instrument. Only the United States and Somalia have yet to ratify it.
The Solution: In response to the overwhelming number of children who cannot sustain their basic needs and have no alternative to becoming child laborers, a volunteer committee of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights established and opened the Sankhu school in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal on September 9, 1999 for children under 16. There is no tuition for the school and all students receive free lunches.
Why the Sankhu-Palubari Community School in Nepal? As of 1995, the average life expectancy in Nepal was 55 years, adult literacy was 41 percent for males and 14 percent for females, and only 52 percent of children completed a primary school education. These statistics are some of the worst in the world. Dozens of brickyards surround Kathmandu and each day children make and carry thousands of bricks each day. Not only is the work arduous, the children are at significant risk of injury from strain, falling bricks, and respiratory illness from dusts.
Why Bonded Labor? An estimated 15 million children work as bonded laborers in India. Most of these children were put into bondage for a small sum of moneyusually less than US$35. The number of years a children must work to pay off the debt is undetermined, and after years of toil the debt has often grown by orders of magnitude.
How You Can Help: A volunteer committee of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights is in the process of raising funds to build a school and provide legal assistance as needed. Donations are needed and all donated funds will be used for program development. Especially important at this time is to find church and school groups that will commit to ongoing funding for a specified period of time.
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