Save the Childhood!
I planned to meet a girl domestic worker in a public school in Kathmandu. I thought to ask some queries to her and understand about the situation of child domestic worker (CDW). I prepared to let start positively. I have a question in my mind that when a girl (pabitra) domestic worker enjoy the happiest moment while staying in the employer’s house. I asked the question to 15 years old girl studying in grade five. She replied with grin face while opening the gatewith carrying rucksack with books to go school. I further excited to know more about positive sharing. But my expectation could not last longer when I asked another question about the frequency of the happiest moment would it be six times in a week. She says ‘No, it depends on the mode of the wife of the employer.’ It reveals clearly she could not go school regularly.
This above dialogue made me curious to know about the darkest side of the coin, too. I asked another question to tell the unhappiest moment. The girl said that the ringing of the bell at 4 pm in school. Once she heard the bell, her heart started beating fast. All the works, including the problems she had to face daily in the employer’s house started storming in her brain. Sometimes, she prayed the god that the four o’clock bell at school should never ring. She paused saying further at that moment. Her innocent but terrifying face was enough for me to guess her difficulties in the employer’s house, as the miseries behind loom. I felt better to divert the situation by asking another query.
Why do you want to work in employer’s house? She said that she used to stay in a remote area. Their parents were very poor. She lost her mother when she was two years old and started living in a broken family. One day, one of the relatives (maternity uncle) came to the family and asked her father to send the daughter in Kathmandu to work in a house. Then the father and step-mother compelled her to go with the man in the city for the betterment of her future. She further continued that she did not had any another alternative. Sometimes the employer sent money to her father. She also wanted to continue her study but she hesitated and said no more. I gazed at her eyes and the poor face expressed much more than the words.
Child working in employer’s house for wages either in cash or kind or without wage is called CDW. The practice of CDWs in Nepal is culturally accepted and widely prevalent, although the law of country prohibits it. Having child domestic workers in a house is still matter of prestige in Nepalese societies. In terms of working hours, most of the CDWs spend twenty by seven in the employer’s house. They are being exploited, abused sexually and forced to live and enslaved. CDW is not only the worst form of child labour, rather it is a form of modern slavery. Let us move to eliminate the sin of modern society. Save the Childhood!
-Krishna Prasad Subedi