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The Kamlari of Nepal

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Among the Tharu community in Nepal, thousands of young girls are sold into indentured servitude by their parents. I knew they were coming to take me. I cried the whole day, hoping the car would never come, but it came. I didn't even know where I was going or who the people were. My parents simply said I had to go and work. We were so poor. My mother tried to make me feel better by saying that if I became a Kamlari, at least my brothers and sisters would have food to eat. The girls are called kamlari. I was a Kamlari for six years. I was sold when I was 6 years old. I became a Kamlari when I was 13. I was sent to work as a Kamlari at age 10, like my mother before me. My day started at 4 in the morning when the landlord's wife woke me up. I worked all day and into the night. The house I was sent to was barricaded with a fence and I wasn't allowed to go outside. Even though I wanted to run away, I couldn't. Though the practice was outlawed in 2006 more than 20000 Nepali girls still work as kamlaris. When girls like me become Kamlaris, we have to deal with a lot of violence, physical violence and sexual violence. I thought I would spend my whole life as a Kamlari. Many local activists are working to end the practice of kamlari. With the help of Room to Read and others kamlari girls are getting a second chance. They are going to school. When they told me they would help me go back to school, that was the happiest moment of my life. If I'm given the chance, I'll continue to study for the rest of my life. I want to be a teacher. I want to free all the Kamlaris and make sure that they are sent back to school. Asha, Sita, and Suma are all active in the movement to end the kamlari system. My parents only paid attention to their sons. They only educated their sons - but I have changed this. I said to my parents, treat us all the same. Treat me the way you would treat your sons. I wrote a song about this. Would she sing it? Selfish were my mother and father They gave birth to a daughter They gave birth to a daughter Did you want to see me suffer, mother? Did you want to see me suffer Father? Then why did you give birth to a daughter? Then why did you give birth to a daughter? My brothers go to school I am unfortunate. I slave in a landlord's house I am unfortunate. I slave in a landlord's house Abused every day by the landlord's wife. Some life. To get beaten every day. Some life. To get beaten every day. Selfish were my mother and father They gave birth to a daughter They gave birth to a daughter

Video Details

Team: Girl Rising
Duration: 4 minutes and 15 seconds
Country: Nepal
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Views: 224
Posted by: tertia on Sep 14, 2013

Selling your daughter into indentured servitude, while outlawed in Nepal, is still common in poor, rural areas for families who desperately need the income. 10x10 met and interviewed former Kamlari girls while in pre-production for the 10x10 film. Here are their stories.

Learn more about 10x10 at http://www.10x10act.org and help rescued Kamlari get an education with Room to Read at http://www.roomtoread.org/meetsuma.

This video premiered on stage at the 2012 Newsweek/Daily Beast Women in the World Summit

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