The organization Our Sansar was founded in February 2009 by Julia Krepska to support educational projects for disadvantaged children in communities in Nepal that do not receive help from other sources. The project focuses on the smallest but most populous province in southern Nepal, with the highest number of brick factories and where about 400 street children live on the streets. There are more than 10,000 cases of violence against girls and women every year and the highest number of missing children in Nepal. Most of the children do not go to school, but work in the brick kilns .
Since April 2021, Our Sansar has been investigating the cases of boys and girls aged 6 and older who work full-time in the 162 brick factories there. There is an initial list of more than 90 working children (only from 6 factories) who are exposed to dust and flames, work excessively long hours and also at night, or have to carry heavy loads. Most families cannot afford schooling or to buy books or supplies. All the children belong to the Dalit (untouchables), mainly Musahar (locally known as “rat-eaters”), and most are extremely discriminated against because of their origin. Domestic violence is widespread, and there are few educational opportunities for girls.
After extensive discussions with families, the first phase of the pilot began in April 2022 for the youngest 20 of a total of 93 children ages 5-17. However, many of the children are younger because in Nepal, a lot of people have a false date of birth on their birth certificate so that they can be married off or work in the factories earlier than children. The children now get lessons during the time their parents are working in the factories. The local school provides classrooms free of charge for this purpose and families are supported in the form of food, mainly rice and other essentials – at a similar value to what the children would earn in the factories, to ensure that parents are not discouraged from working and they do not send their children back to the factory.
The aim is to integrate all children into the public schools, as they have no chance of finding a job without a school-leaving certificate, and they receive a free lunch there. The level of education in the local schools is very low, which is why most of the students need tutoring in order to complete their education. Therefore, throughout their school years, they receive 3 hours of tutoring a day so that they can pass all exams and not drop out of school. In the afternoons, there are mainly leisure activities such as art and sports, so that the children do not lose the fun of school.
Meanwhile, the first 93 children have stopped working to go to school. There are 3 dedicated tutoring teachers and so far there have been no failures. A representative checks the factories weekly to see if children are working there. The factory owners are now being prosecuted with the help of Justice Ventures International if children are employed there. Encouraged by the good tutoring, parents are pushing for improved standards in public schools, regular teacher attendance, and school renovations. In the long term, the education project supported by the Schöck-Familien- Stiftung for all children in the entire district of Rautahat is to be extended to the whole of Province 2 in Nepal.
Project sponsor: Our Sansar Limited
Funding year: since 2023
Project no.: 177-23 ya