The Freedom Fund’s south-eastern Nepal hotspot is helping thousands of families in agricultural bonded labour (harwa-charuwa) advocate together for their rights to land, incomes and education, working towards an end to this inter-generational form of modern slavery. This is Sunita’s story, a survivor of agricultural bonded labour.
Sunita and her husband worked as harwa-charuwa labourers for a local landlord. They were expected to carry out all the work on the land for 12 hours every day. Despite her hard labour, only Sunita’s husband received wages and, even then, it was only 15kg of rice per month. Sunita recalls, “We never had enough to eat, the children grew up with their stomachs half-filled.” Neither Sunita or her husband were allowed to work elsewhere to supplement their income. It was especially challenging for Sunita when the children were small, and she was expected to carry her baby as she worked in the landlord’s fields. If her baby cried, Sunita would be scolded for taking time to comfort her.
With the help of DSAM, one of the Freedom Fund’s local partners, Sunita and other landless women started a group farming business by saving Rs. 100 ($1) per month. Sunita and 11 other women have successfully leased land to begin vegetable farming. As a result of their hard work, and DSAM’s support, Sunita and other women in her community have enough income to feed their families and have been able to leave their work as harwa-charuwa labourers. These women have been highly motivated by their success and are committed to achieving even greater income for their families so they will no longer need to take loans from landlords.
Find out more about the Freedom Fund’s south-eastern Nepal hotspot.