Two freed Kamlaris climb rungs on academic ladderSaraswoti Chaudhary, a freed Kamlari (indentured girl child labourer) at Narayanpur in Tripur-1, has passed her Bachelors in Education
Saraswoti Chaudhary, a freed Kamlari (indentured girl child labourer) at Narayanpur in Tripur-1, has passed her Bachelors in Education (BEd) examinations from Siddharatna Nath Campus in Dang district.
Out of the 12,000 ex-Kamlaris in the western Tarai, she is the first girl to pass the Bachelor’s degree. During her Kamlari days, she always hoped to get higher education. “I was compelled to wash dishes and clothes throughout the day whereas kids of my age went to school,” she said.
After six years as a Kamlari, Saraswoti was freed in 2002. She had passed the SLC examinations from the local Siddharatna Nath Higher Secondary School.
Saraswoti passed Plus Two majoring in English. She completed the BEd level in Population while volunteering for the Nepal Red Cross Society.
Her father was also a Kamaiya (former bonded labourer) in the district. They lived in a 12-member family then. He died a Kamaiya of Japanese Encephalitis. Saraswoti was seven then.
Saraswoti’s mother got married to her uncle according to the Tharu tradition. Her family pressed her “to get married” while she was studying in Grade 12. “I continued my studies even after marriage,” said Saraswoti.
After marrying Prakash Chaudhary in Lamahi, she has been living in Narayanpur in their own house. Prakash is a carpenter. “I wish to pass the Master’s level and engage in Kamlaris’ welfare,” said Saraswoti.
Another former Kamlari, 26-year-old Basanti Chaudhary of Pathariya-2 in Kailali has also got her Bachelor’s. Having lived as a Kamlari for three years, she was freed in 2001. She had passed the SLC in the first division. After doing an electrical sub overseer’s course, she got the Bachelor’s degree.
She has been living at Ratmata in Ghorahi-9. “I aspire to pass the Master’s level,” she said. Basanti married Niraj Chaudhary, a mechanic.
Both the former Kamlaries were honoured by the Freed Kamlari Development Forum for their academic achievements. Central Chairperson of the Forum Bimala Chaudhary said the two had proved that freed Kamlaris can change their lives.