June 12 is World Day Against Child Labor, a date designated by the United Nations to reflect on both the extent to which child labor exists in our world and the measures necessary to eliminate it.
In several countries where Room to Read operates our Girls’ Education program, child labor presents a major challenge to achieving gender equality in education. In Nepal, for example, girls are often contracted into indentured servitude by their parents through the Kamlari system. Though officially outlawed by the Supreme Court of Nepal in 2006, the practice is still widely culturally-accepted, especially in the western region of Bardiya. The vast majority of Kamlari girls are forbidden by their landlords to attend school and many are subject to physical abuse.
But the story doesn’t end there. Together with local partner organization Friends of Needy Children Nepal, Room to Read is helping rescued Kamlari girls rewrite their own futures and find a way back to school. Several of these stories were documented by 10x10, a feature film and social action campaign dedicated to galvanizing support for girls' education. In Bardiya, 10x10 met with the incredible young women currently enrolled in our program, and heard—in their own words—about the impact of education.
In honor of World Day Against Child Labor, we bring you a short film featuring three of those stories, produced by 10x10. Watch the video below to meet Asha, Sita and Suma—three former Kamlari girls determined to create a better life for others in their community.
Learn more about our work in Nepal.