Former bonded labourer wins N-Peace AwardBasanti Chaudhary, chairperson of Kamaiya Pratha Unmulan Samaj, an organisation from Kailali district run by a group of former Kamaiyas (bonded labourers), has been awarded with “Engage for Peace, Equality, Access, Community and Empowerment (N-Peace) Award.
Basanti Chaudhary, chairperson of Kamaiya Pratha Unmulan Samaj, an organisation from Kailali district run by a group of former Kamaiyas (bonded labourers), has been awarded with “Engage for Peace, Equality, Access, Community and Empowerment (N-Peace) Award.
According to the N-Peace Network, initiated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Chaudhary was awarded for her standing up for peace and fighting for the rights of marginalised groups and women who face different forms of violence. Chaudhary is among six other winners from South Asia. The winners were selected by an online voting system.
The Kamaiya Pratha Unmulan Samaj is a 3,400-member organisation working for 2,900 households of freed Kamaiyas (total population approximately 15,000) living across 15 Village Development Committees (VDCs) of Kailali, according to the N-Peace Network.
Chaudhary started working as a bonded labourer when she was five-six years old, says the network. Though she used to go to school from the house of the landlord for whom she used to work, she could not continue her education beyond grade six. She has been with the Kamaiya Pratha Unmulan Samaj (KPUS) for the last 14 years. The Kamaiya and Kamlari system was abolished in Nepal in 2000, but the plight of the ex-Kamaiya and ex-Kamlaris continues. Chaudhary as an ex-bonded labourer herself has been capacitating the former Kamaiyas and Kamlaris and raising awareness on the issue. In 2015, two Nepali women advocating for women’s rights were awarded with N-Peace Award, a multi-country network of peace advocates.
The N-Peace Network recognises and profiles women and men leaders and peacebuilders creating change at the grassroots to national levels in Asia. The nominations for the 2016 N-Peace Awards were opened for Afghanistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka under three categories in June for a total of 11 awards.