Few people are aware that the India-Nepal border is one of the largest corridors for human trafficking on the planet. While the outside world pays little notice, the problem has reached endemic proportions with an estimate of nearly 200,000 Nepalis having already been trafficked into India.
The vast majority of these victims are women and children who are subjected to forced labour, prostitution, and sexual abuse. The porous, 400 mile-long border between southern Nepal and Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, is an ideal environment for traffickers to operate within.
There has been a further spike in the trafficking of women and children since the devastating April 2015 earthquake in Nepal. The Indian government’s agency charged with protecting its border (Sashastra Seema Bal) reported a “massive spurt” in the forced movement of women and children from Nepal along the Bihar border.While exact numbers are impossible to attain, it is clear that what is already an appalling situation has been made even worse by this natural tragedy.
There are numerous causes for this problem on both sides of the border, but the primary reason is that Nepal is an agrarian country which lacks sufficient infrastructure and economic opportunities to support its population of nearly 23 million people.
About 90% of its inhabitants rely on subsistence agriculture to survive. More than half of Nepal’s women are illiterate, poorly-educated and, therefore, easily targeted by traffickers.
Each year an estimated 7,000-10,000 women and children are trafficked through Bihar, many ending up in de facto slavery in Bihar’s red-light zones. With nearly a quarter of those trafficked below the age of 16, the situation is particularly grave for children.
Currently, the precedent for young girls in these communities is to follow their mothers into prostitution. Parents surveyed from the community say they would prefer that their children find other means of employment, but, with limited choices, many children are still drawn into the same line of work.
Children from the Child Rights Club we support in Loco slum, Uganda have recently organised a clean up day in their area, inspiring the adults to join in and attracting other children to the club.
30 children from the Club, based in the Ugandan Railways Primary School and supported by Children on the Edge Africa, came up with the idea when they created their Club’s work plan at the start of the year.
After they decided they wanted to have a day to spruce the area, Children on the Edge provided some equipment, and the Loco Child Protection Team also bought shovels along, with a few of the team members helping out on the day. The area was swept and tidied, with rubbish being gathered and burnt.
Ashwin Ndlovu, who is currently out in Uganda supporting the development of the team’s Monitoring and Evaluation said ‘They were so organised and enthusiastic. They all put on their child rights T-shirts, and the girl that was leading it was brilliant. She was very confident, and went around to people’s houses, talking to adults about children’s rights and what the Child Rights Club does”.
One member of the Child Rights Club lives in a neighbouring community, but he came to Loco to help his team members clean their community and share information with parents about child rights. He said “I don’t live here, but I came to help as children have the right to live in a clean environment”. A few more children followed along, asking how they could join as they were inspired by what the other children were sharing.
After the cleaning was done, they went back to the Primary School for some porridge and a workshop led by the children themselves. They sat outside and talked about how to stay safe from abuse, chatting about situations they have been through and what they find difficult.
They talked freely with our social worker Babra, and the patron of the Child Rights Club, saying that they find it harder to talk to their teachers. One girl said ‘My Stepmother gives me all the clothes and I do the laundry by myself. She doesn’t ask her own children to do this, and I have to wait until the other children finish their meal each day and eat the leftovers”.
The children were glad to be able to talk, and also shared some positive comments about the project. They talked about how much they like to play in the new Loco playground outside the Early Childhood Development Centre, when all they used to do was go to Jinja town to pick up scrap.
Watch this space to see what new ideas the Child Rights Club comes up with this year, and find out more about the wider project here.
Since a brutal campaign of violence from the Myanmar military forced over 650,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh, Children on the Edge have been responding to the crisis. Already working in the Kutupalong camp for seven years, we were uniquely placed to offer humanitarian support.
Thanks to the generous support of many donors, we have:
We have also provided 5250 Solar lights - without a source of light for the evening many families have trouble with cooking and other tasks, and travel around the camp is dangerous for women at night. The lighting units are strong, waterproof and portable.
Together these will provide education for 8,400 children a year through 168 classrooms. This work will draw on our experience, providing colourful and innovative schools which stand out for their excellence. If you would like to find out more about education in the camps this year, don't hesitate to get in touch, or lend your support by clicking the buttons below.
Children from Wandago have been telling us about the challenges they face in their area. Read about what needs to change, and how you can help.
The wonderful The Body Shop At Home team and consultants have gone above and beyond with their fundraising for Children on the Edge each year, and 2017 was no different.
Smashing a fundraising target of £85,000, they raised a staggering £113,688 through their Body Shop parties, regular monthly donations, fashion shows, ball nights and by taking on a huge range of runs and cycles.
On Saturday 3rd February Ben, Esther, Abigail and our amazing volunteers Helen and Jane, travelled from Chichester to Telford for their Spring Conference, armed with 1,700 goody bags generously donated by The Body Shop, raffle tickets and t-shirts. The team always look forward to the energy and generosity shown in the rapid fundraising for vulnerable children at this event.
The result was an incredible £21,099 raised in one day. This is a phenomenal record amount for a February conference, and we were blown away.
Our Executive Director, Ben shared news from Uganda and described why we are beginning work in a new community called Wandago. We also celebrated consultants who rose to the challenge of raising more than £100 at their parties in the run up to Christmas.
Ben says “Our fundraising targets are always ambitious and once again you all smashed it! Your ongoing passion and support for Children on the Edge is helping us to create safer environments for more and more vulnerable children in Uganda each year”.
The Body Shop and Children on the Edge have worked together since Dame Anita Roddick founded the charity in 1990. Driven by her passion for sustainable and ethical products, Dame Anita hoped to provide a similar approach to charity work. After witnessing the atrocities befalling children in Romania following the war, she created Children on the Edge to create hope, life, colour and fun for some of the world’s most forgotten children.
Thank you to all those who are supporting us to continue this work. If you are a consultant from The Body Shop at Home and you'd like to find out how to get more involved, just e-mail email@example.com.
2018 began with friends and celebrations for the Children on the Edge team as our lovely Ambassadors gathered for a fun filled Quiz night. Over 120 people came together at Fittleworth Village Hall for 12 rounds of 2017 trivia and a delicious fish and chip supper.
Walter Jones (a long-standing member of the Children on the Edge volunteer team) and his appropriately named ‘Walter’s Winners’ team took the final prize at the end of night.
Whilst Walter and his team were gracious champions, it was the event and the people that made it such a memorable evening for Walter:
‘‘It was a super evening full of people who are committed to supporting Children on the Edge. People tonight were really keen to lend their support. They like the fact that Children on the Edge are a small, local charity, rather than a big bureaucracy. They are getting the job done well, helping children in serious need, and they keep donors in touch with the difference they are making”.
A glass was raised to everyone’s incredible generosity, support and hard work over 2017. The evening offered a moment to reflect on how much had been achieved by all involved with Children on the Edge in the last year, and their continuing work to restore the ingredients of a full and happy childhood to so many forgotten children.
The final total from the evening was an incredible £3,007.80.
If you would like to be involved in our next fundraising event, or maybe you would like to organise one, then please get in touch!