The thousands of children who live in work in brick kilns in Kathmandu District during the brick season (December-June) have little reason to smile. They come from the poorest districts of Nepal, or Bihar in India. Some come individually as bonded labourers whose parents have been provided with a small advance. They work as donkey handlers or brick carriers. Others come with their parents, labourers who try to pay off debts to the local middleman, and mold bricks out of clay.
While in Kathmandu the children don’t go to school, live in makeshift shelters, and spend their days working in dangerous and unhealthy conditions.
Animal Nepal has allocated one model brick kiln in Bungamati where it will establish a daycare centre for children below 5, and admit children between 5-12 at a local school. If the project is successful it will be replicated in all the ten brick kilns where we work.
When a group of Dutch friends heard about this inititiative they quickly organised a donation drive. Within a week they raised no less than 830 euro! They also collected almost 50 (second hand) t-shirts for the brick kids.
Coordinator Judith de Vries personally handed over the money and t-shirts at the Bungamati Brick Kiln. She had some trouble identifying who were boys and who were girls but eventually all the children were dressed in a bright t-shirt. The parents expressed their appreciation. ‘We really want our children to go to school but the older ones have to look after the babies, and we can’t afford to buy uniforms and notebooks for them,’ they said. Once a daycare facility has been established for the young kids the older ones will be released from work and admitted at school.
We want to thank all you generous donors out there!