LAMAHI: When the country was celebrating National Children’s Day today, one Ramu Budha, 12, of Saribang VDC of Pyuthan, was busy working as a child labourer in a hotel at Lamahi of Dang. He was having a rather hectic schedule ranging from washing dishes to delivering tea and snacks to nearby shops and offices.
But it was not the special day he was engaged in such chores t his tender age. It is his everyday duty as he has been working as a child labourer at a hotel since long.
Despite his round-the-clock duty, the hotel proprietor, however, has been paying him nothing except for providing food and accommodation.
Like Ramu, there are many children toiling in the hotels in Lamahi area. However, neither the government nor the NGOs working against child labour have exact figure on such children here.
Recently, an NGO working in the field had revealed that altogether 99 such child labourers in the district. Dismissing the data, another organisation said that there were more than 300 such children in Dang district.
Eight years old Hima Kumal sells bottles of mineral water and maize to the bus passengers. “My father is alcoholic; I need to work to help my mother,’’ she said, adding, ‘’It would be easier for my mother if I myself manage my educational expenses.’’
District Development Committee has been spending a large chunk of its budget annually in the name of such children, but the problem still persists. A child rights activist laments as the government has been celebrating Bhadra 29 as the National Children Day but has failed to come up with any concrete efforts for the welfare of such hundreds of children across the nation.
“Had I got some money, I could have managed for my study,’’ said Ramu. He had lost his father during the Maoist insurgency. “I’ve no option but to continue with the hardship as my mother, if I return home, cannot provide food to all of us as I have many siblings.’’
According to International Labor Organization, labourers under the age of 16 are regarded as child labourer.