Spotlight on CAC:
Reducing the Exploitation of Children Through Community Participation
In Nepal, children migrate to the cities for the purpose of employment. There they become vulnerable to child labor and sexual exploitation. In Bhaktapur, opportunities for work in restaurants and garment, carpet, and brick factories entice children into hazardous labor. Most wash dishes, lift heavy loads in factories, or work as helpers in public transport. There is a high risk of exploitation in these jobs.
There is no easy solution for this ever-increasing problem. However, CIRCLE partner Community Action Center (CAC) has conceived efforts to retain these children in the school. CAC-Nepal is a community based NGO that empowers communities to tackle the problems of women and children. Specific activities implemented by the centre include rescuing and rehabilitation of trafficked children, advocacy for the rights of women and children (birth registration and citizenship), social advocacy for of child rights, non-formal education classes for child laborers, and HIV prevention, care, and support activities for female sex workers.
In January 2006
Meeting with CBO members and Child Welfare Board
, CAC held a stakeholder meeting with different organizations and more than 58 distinguished participants, including the District Development Committee Chairman, the Community Development Officer (CDO), the Local Development Officer (LDO), the Superintendent of Police (SP) and District Education Officers. The purpose of the meeting was making stakeholders aware of child labor in their area and appeal for their support in addressing the problem. The participants emphasized the importance of collaboration between the government, I/NGOs, civil society and private sectors for effective results and to reach the goal of Education for All by 2015.
The meeting's stakeholders all expressed appreciation to CAC Nepal and showed their commitment for whatever support that they could offer: Ms. Rajya Laxmi Nakarmi, District Education officer of the Bhaktapur District, promised to provide grant scholarships from the district office budget to the non-formal education students. As a result, CAC Nepal was able to enroll 115 NFE students into formal school in the month of May.
When my father drunkenly beat us, we were not able to run away from our house. So, we become docile, submissive, and let him beat us, says 14 year old Goma.
This is a situation faced daily by hundreds of Nepalese girls. Born into patriarchal family systems, girls are seen as a burden to the family and denied of their basic rights. Goma and her sisters are victims of this system. Their illiterate mother hardly manages to meet the daily household expenses by selling roasted corn and seasonal fruits as a street vendor. Their father too is illiterate and constantly complains about not having a male member to continue his lineage. He relies on occasional construction work for livelihood and shows his frustration by drinking heavily and abusing his family. The small income he makes as a construction worker is not sufficient, so he constantly pressures the girls to work construction to provide more money. Yet, despite this desperate situation, the three sisters are eager to study and fulfill their own dreams.
When CAC Nepal's team first met with the girls, they were busy helping their mother sell roasted corn. Goma spoke to the team of her dreams of being a nurse and her sisters' dreams of teaching.
CAC Nepal decided to support their education. Goma and her sisters have been admitted to a local school in classes V, IV, and I. At present, they seem to be doing well and heading down the path to success.