In Nepal, Making a Play for Social Justice

In Nepal, Making a Play for Social Justice             

According to the Internet-based charity Global Giving, as many as 40,000 Nepalese girls currently work as kamlaris, which essentially amounts to indentured servitude.  Parents or guardians with too many mouths to feed, desperate for money, and some even formerly-bonded servants themselves, sell off their daughters to wealthier landowners in exchange for a set annual sum of money, an amount often totaling less than $100 U.S. dollars.  Kamlari girls see none of this money, nor do they get to see  their families and friends or receive an education; additionally, they are often victims of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse.

Two Nepalese charity groups in particular have been working to end this practice:  Friends of Needy Children (FNC) and Social Welfare Action Nepal (SWAN).  The latter organization is not to be confused with another organization that goes by the same acronym, Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Organization (SWAN), an organization concerned not with ending sex work, but with protecting the human rights of sex workers in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

In an exciting testament to the cathartic and mobilizing powers of drama, concerned citizens and former kamlari have started to perform plays in public places that demonstrate the emotional and physical toll this servitude wages on young girls as well as the inhumane and unethical implications of the practice. In a recent performance in the town of Lamahi, audience members were so moved that they entered the performance space and urged the man playing the part of the father of an indentured daughter to bring his daughter home. Now that’s dramatic. 

Take a look at the play in performance below.

Take a look at the clip below which explains one woman’s experience of being raped and impregnated during her servitude.

Both of the above videos are part of a really well done four-part series. 

Want to help or at least learn more about this injustice? Check out the Global Giving website.

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