Last Sunday, after 36 hours of flights and layovers, I made it back home to Boston, and now after several more hours of sleep, I’m ready to share the summary of my last week in Nepal.
It was a pretty exciting last week.Gisele Bolton (Advocacy Project Peace Fellow), Bijaya Sainju (executive director of CONCERN-Nepal), and I met with the Israeli and British Ambassadors in Nepal. We also met with members of USAID, and a deputy director at the Japanese Embassy. We talked to them about the problem of child labor, and in particular, child labor in brick kilns. They were open to our suggestions.
We were hoping to gain support for the project that I spent the last twelve weeks helping CONCERN-Nepal to create. Under this plan, children in brick kilns will be able to get the educational support they need in order to emancipate themselves from the cycle of hazardous labor work in the brick kilns. I think we opened the door toward successfully executing the plan we put together, but we still have a long way to go. We still need to find the funds to support this project.
Programs like this are desperately needed. While there are many child advocacy groups in Nepal, there is a need for programs that provide academic support for child laborers. Child labor is seen everywhere in Nepal everyday, and I dealt with it every moment from the time I arrived until I left Kathmandu.
On the day that I left Nepal, I was sitting in a taxi on the way to the airport. My taxi was stopped in traffic, and I was staring out the window opposite me taking in my final views of Kathmandu, when suddenly a young boy, about 10 years old, popped his face in the open window next to me. He held his hands in prayer and was mouthing words I couldn’t quite make out. I felt so bad for the boy.
I gave him nothing, and my taxi drove off. My principle on this is such a hard one to follow. Giving him money encourages him to be out on the streets, but then I think what will be his choices if I don’t give him money.
The only thing that alleviates my feelings about this situation is that I’m working to make his life better. At least I hope that his life will be better, and while I am not in Kathmandu, I still plan to support CONCERN-Nepal and The Advocacy Project. I’m also heartened by the fact that The Advocacy Project sent Gisele Bolton to pick up where I left off with CONCERN-Nepal. She will help in the execution of the project that CONCERN-Nepal and I worked to put together. If you want to continue to follow the work of CONCERN-Nepal and The Advocacy Project, make sure to visit Gisele’s blog.
Thank you all for your support over the past weeks. It has been an amazing experience.
Posted By Katerina Canyon (CONCERN)
Posted Sep 1st, 2014