OKHALDHUNGA: "What can I do other than to make gravels as I have to take my photo to school with me tomorrow, when my mother has left me alone" says a tearful Nishan BK, 12, of Gorumare Bhanjyang Of Okhaldhung-4 who was found making gravels with his old grandmother at the Loktantrik Chok of Okhaldhunga. He has to make money anyhow to have his photograph and take it to school by making gravels all day.
Nishan BK and his nine-year-old sister Sujita BK say they labour to make money for their expenses in studies, and they come to work with grandmother on holidays.
They get Rs. 15 per tin box of gravel, said grandmother Ramkumari BK.
Although their mother left them and went away with her second marriage, the grandmother has been upbringing them.
She has not only to nurture them but has to care her husband too. Her husband is bed-ridden for the past five years.
As the daughter in law left, son also did not care, complained Ram Kumari. She has no option other than to make hard labour.
Nishan and Sujita are Class 4 and Class 2 students in Yuba Barsha Primary School. They have to make hard labour for buying stationeries. No organisations for child rights have helped, Ram Kumari vented anger.
No organisations have helped them and the government has not been able to bring concrete programmes for children of impoverished families as there is a legal provision that children should not be taken into labour.
The government should take responsibility of such children for food, clothing, health and education, and security, say rights activists. Nepal Bar Association District Unit Secretary Tukraj Niraula said the state should take all the responsibility of the helpless and orphaned children.
Niraula wonders what might have been the situation of the children in rural belts when children are obliged to do hard labour in the district headquarters itself.