I arrived to Kathmandu late Monday night. After close to 30 hours of flights and layovers, I was very excited to be here; however, part of me was disappointed because I arrived at night and I wouldn’t be able to truly see the city until the morning.
I am staying with a wonderful family in the Shawyambhu area of Kathmandu. My room has an amazing view of Shawyambhu Stupa which is also known as “The Monkey Temple,” for the many monkeys that surround the area.
On Wednesday afternoon I walked to CONCERN’s office to meet with the executive director, Bijaya Sainju. I also met many of the dedicated staff. We discussed our many goals for the summer, which include putting together a plan for the arrest and prosecution of child labor law violators. As far as I know, this would be the first arrest and conviction of its kind in the history of Nepal. We agreed that this will likely be a long-range goal. It will take far longer than my three month fellowship, but hopefully by the end of the summer we will have a reasonable blueprint that can be implemented. At the end of our meeting, Bijaya invited me to join CONCERN for a rally being held the next day in Bakhtapur for World Against Child Labor Day, so…
At about 5:00 A.M. on Thursday morning, I woke up and headed over to Bakhtapur to observe the rally and take pictures. There were dozens of groups and organizations in attendance. The total number of participants was close to 500. They marched through the streets of Bhaktapur, ending in Bhaktapur Square where we saw many speeches, musical performances, and one live drama on the horrors of child labor. It was a successful day, and we definitely got the message out.
Sadly, the problems of child labor go beyond a day. Around the world, there are millions of children who put their lives at risk every day just to have a meal. Why aren’t we in the streets every day as well screaming to end this terrible practice? We can justify complacency by saying there are people with problems everywhere and we can’t help them all. True, but these are children. They have no choice. Adults with problems often have choices about how to deal with those problems. Children forced to work have no choice, they are slaves to circumstance.
So it may seem unreasonable or unfeasible to march in the streets every day demanding the end of child labor, but it is unthinkable to do nothing. A child is the world’s responsibility.
Posted By Katerina Canyon (CONCERN)
Posted Jun 14th, 2014