Many children in Asia often start working at a young age. In many cases, they work as housekeeper or labourer at the rice fields and plantations, or end up in working at hazardous places such as mines. At nine, Amrita from Bangladesh left home and worked as housemaid at Mrs. Maya’s. Fortunately, Mrs Maya supports Amrita to go to school.

Child labour

Working as housemaid

Amrita was only nine years old when she had to leave her family and work as a child domestic worker at another family in Bangladesh. Amrita’s father was a boatman who earned about 42 Euro per month. Her mother was a housewife looking after eight children. The family was very poor. It was decided that Amrita was to stay and work at Mrs. Maya’s house. Amrita’s responsibilities included cleaning, washing and babysitting two younger children of Mrs. Maya. Amrita worked for many hours, under harsh conditions, not able to attend school and deprived from family care.

Supporting Amrita to go to school

Amrita was lonely and hopeless in her life. One day in 2014, a teacher from Village Education Resource Center (VERC), a local partner of Terre des Hommes Netherlands, visited Mrs. Maya’s house and met Amrita. She convinced Mrs. Maya to let Amrita take some time off from work and go to school, but it was unsuccessful. The teacher reached out to local Child Protection Management Committee (CPMC) for support and together, they finally convinced Mrs. Maya to enroll Amrita at a local school.

Given the family’s welfare and personal growth, children are allowed to do light work that is age appropriate, has no detrimental effects on their development and that they are not deprived of the right to go to school. Now, Amrita is in Class 4. She attends school regularly with good progress on her score.

I love going to school. My teacher takes good care of me. She helps us to read and do math. At school, we sometimes sing and dance together. I feel very grateful with all the support I received.

Amrita, 9, from Bangladesh.

 

Employer’s support

Mrs. Maya attends meetings with VERC staff and they discuss about child-rights issues. She even visited Amrita at school to check on her study progress and treated Amrita with care ensuring the girl has equal opportunity as other children.

Although Amrita was a maid at my house, she deserved a chance to study. Schooling has helped Amrita to be more mature and learn to manage her time well between housework and studying. I want her to succeed in the future.

Mrs. Maya is the house owner whom Amrita works for.
 

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