FREED KAMALARIS CASE STUDY
Dil Kumari was sold by her parents when she was just nine years old. Before this happened she attended her local school, but life wasn’t easy. Her family had nothing and they could not feed themselves. She was sold during the Maghi festival. Her parents were promised around $40 a year for her services; they didn’t always receive this.
Life was exceptionally tough for Dil Kumari: she worked from 6am until nearly 11pm every day, seven days a week. Occasionally she was allowed to return home briefly for Maghi. She had no fresh food ‘I was only allowed to eat the scraps like the dogs’ she says. The Landlord (master) made her go and fetch alcohol late at night and made her massage him. She was abused verbally and physically on a daily basis.
She was freed by NYF after six years of her own living hell. She went back to her village and restarted her education at Grade 7. She is now in her final year of a University degree course in Commerce Management.
She was also inspired set up a Vocational Training Centre in Nepalgunj to help other FKs which has been running for 2 years. She is currently Vice President of the Freed Kamalari Development Forum (FKDF). This is a pressure group founded by the Freed Kamalaris with the support of NYF. It has successfully lobbied the Nepali Government to sign a 10-point plan for the social and economical empowerment of these former indentured girls. The FKDF need to continue to lobby the government to ensure it keeps to its side of the agreement, especially where money is involved. The girls check to see if school fees and bursaries are being paid – they have even asked for additional money for students in certain areas and received the uplift!
‘What we are today is solely due to NYF. They gave us the tools to rebuild our own lives. They were there every step of the way supporting us on our journey to empowerment’