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Meet Suma from Girl Rising. Her song would not be silenced.

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Girl Rising is a feature film that highlights the stories of nine young women around the globe, and the critical role education plays in each of their lives. The following chapter features Suma, a young woman from Nepal Suma plays herself in a story written by celebrated Nepali author, Manjushree Thapa Girls who go to school see immediate benefits beyond the things they're learning. Being a student enhances their status in the community. It improves their health. It makes them safer. But in the developing world, getting an education is not what people expect girls to do. Girls are expected to work. Expected to fetch water. To care for younger children. To get jobs... or worse. 80% of all human trafficking victims are female It happens to girls like Suma. Suma's parents didn't send her to school. They sent her to work. It's called kamlari. I write songs to remind myself that my memories are real. And often, because there's so much sadness behind me, what comes out is sad. Both of my parents were bonded as kamlar and kamlari in their childhood. That's the way things have been around here. That's the way they have been for the poor. You have to bond yourself to a master, otherwise, how will you live? Suma - Bardiya, Nepal This was the house of my first master. My mother and father bonded me just so that I would have somewhere to live and enough food to eat. I was six years old. Faggu Tharu was a landlord and a miller. He made me work from four in the morning to late at night. I had to clean the house and wash the dishes and go to the forest to fetch firewood. When I wasn't minding the goats, I had to mind the children. The goats were nicer. The daughters made fun of me because my clothes were torn. They teased me. They beat me. I wanted my mother and father to take me back. I wanted them to let me stay at home and go to school, like my brother. But when I thought about how poor they were, and how much they too had suffered, it made me feel weak. I couldn't ask. This was the house of my second master. Janak Malla wore a uniform to work. He and his mistress of the house were very hardhearted. "Unlucky girl," they used to call me. "Ey, unlucky girl, do this," they'd shout. They made me sleep in the goat shed, and wear rags, and eat scraps from their dirty plates. I can't really talk about everything that happened to me here, but I will never forget. This is where I began to write songs. Only the songs got me through. Thoughtless were my mother and father They gave birth to a daughter They gave birth to a daughter My brothers go to school to study While I, unfortunate, slave at a master's house It's a hard life, being beaten every day This was the house of my third master. I was 11 years old when I arrived at Chaitey Tharu's house. I had been a kamlari for five years. It wasn't as bad here. I mean, it was bad because there was a lot of work, but there was a lodger in that house, a schoolteacher called Bimal Sir. He changed my life. Bimal Sir convinced my master and mistress to enroll me in a night class. All of us would gather after finishing our day's work, and we would learn to read and write. I loved that night class so much. It was run by social workers for girls just like me, kamlaris. We would also talk to the teachers about what it was like to be a kamlari. And as we talked we began to realize that bonded labor was - and isn't it? Slavery. The teachers who ran the night class began to go from house to house. There is a small girl working here. I am here to take her. Why? They wanted to liberate us. One teacher, Sita didi, told my master that he was breaking the law by keeping me as a kamlari. She talked about the law against bonded labor, and the law about children's rights, and the law on labor rights, and the law against domestic violence and trafficking. She talked to him about justice and injustice. And she demanded that he set me free. My master said no; once made, a bond couldn't be broken. Sita didi didn't give up. She kept arguing. She came back day after day - and in the end, she led me home to my mother and father. I am my own master now. I have no mistress. I was the last bonded worker in my family. After me, everyone will be free. I feel as though I have power, I feel like I can do anything. And I have important things to do. Inside this house is a girl like I was. Away from her parents, working morning to night, wanting so badly to be free. We have come to this house, the house of her master, to say, "We know you have a kamlari working for you. You must set her free." I've seen where change comes from. When it comes, it's like a song you can't hold back. Suddenly there's a breath moving through you, and you're singing! And others pick up the tune and start singing too. And a sweet melody goes out into the world and touches the heart of one person, then another, and another. The practice of Kamlari has been illegal in Nepal since 2000. Now, with the help of girls like Suma, it's finally coming to an end. For Suma, it is not enough that she herself is free. She's using her education to make sure all girls are getting to school. Because Suma knows that when parents have to choose, they usually choose to educate the boys. So girls have less opportunity, less freedom, and less education than the boys they grow up with. 33 million fewer girls than boys are in primary schools worldwide This means the girls suffer more hunger, more violence, and more disease. 75% of AIDS cases in Sub-Saharan Africa are women and girls It's a simple fact. There is nobody more vulnerable than a girl. In one year, 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence

Video Details

Team: Girl Rising
Duration: 12 minutes and 39 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Views: 162
Posted by: tertia on Sep 14, 2013

Suma's video

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