Journeys to school: Nepal


From poverty to slavery, Pramila, 15, from Nepal, has faced extreme challenges in going to school – and she’s seen far too many girls from her community suffer the same fate.

“Because of poverty, I have had many problems in keeping up my education,” says Pramila. “My family couldn’t afford the things you need for school, so my father decided to send me to work as a kamalari.”

A kamalari is a child servant – Pramila agreed to go as her ‘master’ had promised to send her to school. But things did not work out that way. “It was the opposite of what I expected. I was enrolled at school, but couldn’t study,” says Pramila. And things took a turn for the worse when she fell ill. “At one point I had to return home because I caught pneumonia.”

Motivation and support

Pramila heard about a kamalari abolition project run by the Freed Kamaiya Women Development Forum (FKWDF) – a partner organisation of Plan. It provides practical and emotional support to girls and families caught up in this type of slavery. Motivated and supported by the project’s staff, Pramila found it was possible to continue with her education without having to work as a kamalari.

“Now I am no longer a kamalari I can study at a school near my home without any problems. This project is helping us,” says Pramila. “There is a good learning environment at school, too. The teachers and my friends are nice and encourage me to study more.” Unfortunately, there are many girls in the community who are still unable to go to school, their future blighted by poverty.

“Some have dropped out before completing secondary school, while many girls don’t get support from their families even though they have to work a lot after school. Often, the girls don’t get the stationery they need because their families cannot afford it. Many of the parents are illiterate don’t see girls’ education as important. Those who leave school have to work to survive,” explains Pramila.

Pramila is determined to become a teacher when she grows up so she can help her community. To Pramila, education is most the most important thing for human beings, as she explains, “We can be doctors, engineers and teachers if we study hard. Education is an instrument that can guide people to a better life.”

                 the Plan
to call on UN Secretary General to make girls’ education a priority

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