Kathmandu, July 5
Although the law requires brick kilns to establish schools or learning centres for workers’ children, a report shows that a majority of these children are engaged in forced labour.
According to a report Child Development Society 2017, ‘A Rapid Assessment of Children in Brick Kilns of Kathmandu Valley’, 22 per cent children living with their parents in brick kilns are out of school.
Kathmandu Valley has more than 750 brick kilns where more than 200,000 direct employees work every season. Mostly people from Kavre, Ramechhap, Rolpa, Dang and Sindhuli migrate seasonally for employment along with their children.
According to the report,16 per cent children are employed as child labourers among the total 200,000 labourers in the kilns.
A total of 49 districts have been identified as worker-supplying districts.
There are dozens of brick kilns, each employing hundreds of workers, most of who bring their children to work with them. Many of these workers have no one to look after their children, and cannot afford to send them to schools.
The Department of Education launches a special student enrolment campaign every year, but the children miss out on it. The workers also involve their children at work to earn more money. Poverty is not always a major cause for the high drop-out of children, who are working in brick kilns.
The major reason is that they don’t get an environment to study and this results in lack of interest in studies. Twenty-two per cent children who are employed in brick factories are involved in some kind of work such as making bricks, carrying water or supporting the family by performing household chores etc, according to the report.
Likewise, 53 per cent boys and 47 per cent girls from the age of five to 18 years are engaged in brick kilns as labourers, while those above 16 years old work more than 12 hours a day. Eleven per cent children between the ages of five and 14 work for three hours a day while two per cent work more than 12 hours a day.
A version of this article appears in print on July 06, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.