Indentured Daughters / Bonded Girls Program
Trading a life of servitude for an education and choice.
Girls as young as seven years old are given by their families to employers due to the extreme poverty of Southern Nepal districts.
Through this program IWEN saves girls from illegal bonded labour arrangements entered into by the family and an employer. Each bonded female that is rescued returns to her family and receives education or vocational training if she is too old for school entrance.
An Addition to this Program is the Literacy classes for rescued girl's mothers. Donors can donate specifically to just this area of the Indentured Girls Program.
About the need
Poor families "give" their daughters as bonded laborers to nearby landlord's homes or to faraway cities for an average of $50.00 a year which is paid to the father of the family. This practice is driven by poverty. In most of these areas where this practice exists families are extremely poor and own little or no land. Without land a Tharu family has great difficulty surviving on a daily laborer's meager wage.
These girls as young as six or seven have never been away from home and often do not speak the language of the families they are "given" to. Many Tharu families do not even know where their daughter lives and/or how to keep contact with her.
Annually these contracts are renewed without the daughters being allowed to visit their families. Usually the bonded daughter returns home only at 18 if she has been lucky enough to stay with her original employer. Some of these bonded daughters never return home and may find themselves in Indian brothels or other unsavory places where they are trapped in a lifetime of hardship.
No one checks on the physical or emotional welfare once the daughter is "given"/"bonded" to an employer. The girls do not go to school even though families are promised that their daughter will be sent to school. They slave from dawn till late at night in private homes, doing harsh manual labor, as domestics, child caretakers, and dishwashers in teahouses or sometimes in very dangerous types of work.
Some have the misfortunate of being sexually abused and raped, as they are "given/bonded", that is, paid for. The majority of owners care little for their welfare in every sense of the word and often the mistress of the house is very cruel towards these "given/bonded" girls. Most of these bonded girls live a life that is unbelievably harsh; physically, mentally and emotionally.
Purpose of Program
Each "given/bonded" girl that is rescued returns to her family and receives education or vocational training in her village if she is too old for school entrance. Continued sponsorship ensures this rescued girl's education until she has completed class 10, which is the end of high school in Nepal or to the end of her vocational training. Where possible, IWEN also ensures that those "given/bonded" females who have experienced traumatic events are provided with a listening ear as well as an education.
An Addition to the Program
Literacy classes for rescued girl's mothers - Those who wish to help women's education but cannot financially annually support a student scholarship can donate specifically to this area of the Indentured Girls' Program
Approximately $25.00 monthly or $300.00 annually covers the following expenses for one full year:
- One "given/bonded" girl is bought back and returned to the family
- Family is given an income generation incentive, which replaces the freed daughter's income that would have come to the family if she had remained bonded. This incentive is a goat.
- Tuition Fees
- School Uniform, shoes, socks, school bag and personal hygiene items
- Oil for lamps so that study can be done at night
- Books and stationary
- School snack
- Supervision of scholarships by Dang Program Coordinator - verification of students progress in Dang
- Translation of student reports and sending reports to sponsors
- Transportation costs to these rural areas for monitoring purposes
- Livelihood opportunities for the family so that the family can over time become self-reliant
- Literacy classes for rescued girl's mothers - donors can donate specifically to just this area of the Indentured Girls Program.
Watch a video about about IWEN's impact