We’re emotionally maimed: War-hit kids

Nepalgunj, August 20:

Conflict-hit children, street children and child labourers shared traumatic experiences, today in a programme held to mark the 41th “Children’s Day” here. Those striving to end child labour are themselves using children as slaves, the children said. Poor kids are forced to work as labourers in rich people’s homes. One child, Dan Bahadur Shahi, sheltering in a Rajhena camp in Banke was shifted from Humla due to clash there. He said: “We are pessimistic about our rights as the very people who ought to protect us are using us as labourers.” He added that conflict-hit and street children are deprived of food, shelter and education. Clothes are a luxury for them and so are even the basic minimum things in life.

Laxmi Shahi, another child, said: “There are many academic centres but none is for us; those are only for the children of rich people.”

According to Bishal Rana, president of District Child Club, Banke, most people abuse child labourers instead of treating them with kindness. These child workers also need love, he added. “Such commitment ought not to be limited to speeches, it must be applied practically,” said Khagendra Gharti, member of Jyoti Children’s Club. A small girl, Dipika Hamal of Manikapur-4, urged for restoring educational and other rights of children. Madhav Lohani, an official with Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN) said, “Even during conflict, children’s rights must be protected. Children, in themselves are peace zones, and a campaign must be fought to preserve their rights.” The programme was organised by CWIN. Representatives of different NGOs, journalists, human rights activists and civilian attended.