Nepal | April 21, 2019

Number of child workers in brick kilns alarming

Himalayan News Service
labourer making bricks at Bhaktapur Brick Industry for post-quake reconstruction child labour

A child labourer making bricks at the Bhaktapur Brick Industry, in Bhaktapur on January 6, 2016. Photo: RSS

Kathmandu, June 12

A study conducted by Child Development Centre, a non-government organisation working for child rights, showed that there are more child labourers in brick kilns of Lalitpur than adult workers.

The study said a total of 974 children work in 28 brick kilns in Lalitpur, while only 804 adult workers are employed there.

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CDC had conducted the study on 108 brick kilns in the Kathmandu Valley, 62 of which were in Bhaktapur, 28 in Lalitpur, and 18 in Kathmandu through December, 2014 to January, 2015.

The study showed 1,550 children and 1,761 adults worked in 62 brick kilns in Bhakatpur, and 740 children and 531 adults in the 18 brick kilns in Kathmandu.

The workers come from 45 districts of the country, with most labourers coming from Kavre, Ramechhap, Sindhuli, Dang, and Rolpa.

Speaking at a programme organised here today by CDC in coordination with Nepal Journalists Forum, Child Rights Activist and Programme Director at CDC Kiran Thapa said children in brick kilns lacked daycare and sanitation facilities, were deprived of school education, and adolescents lacked supervision and could openly drink or smoke.

“In most cases, children accompany their parents to work in the brick kilns, and children who are fourteen and older come with people from their villages,” Thapa said, adding, “Because the wage is based on the number of bricks produced, parents bring their children with them to help them produce more.”

A rapid assessment conducted by World Education and Plan International Nepal in 2011 had stated that there were more than 750 brick kilns in Nepal that employed almost 200,000 workers, of which 16 per cent were children.

Thapa further said, “A decade ago there were a total of 2.6 million child labourers in various sectors, and through various initiatives taken by INGOs and NGOs, the number now stands at 1.6 million.

But our work will not end until all children are rescued from all forms of labour and exploitation.”

President of Brick Clean Network Surendra Dhakal said some brick kilns had banned the use of child workers, an initiative that according to him, the government should promote. Dhakal said, “We have urged the government to boycott bricks produced through child labour in reconstruction projects.”

Director General of Department of Labor Kedar Bahadur Bogati expressed his commitment to end child labor in the country.

The CDC had organised a huge rally from Bhadrakali to Shantibatika, and collected signatures for a petition to end child labour and submitted it to the labour minister.


A version of this article appears in print on June 13, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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