Girl, 14, quits school to support mother, sister after quake

- ANISH TIWARI, SINDHUPALCHOK
The 14-year-old says her family did not get housing aid because her uncles took away the papers after her father’s death

Dec 25, 2016-Fourteen-year-old Rejina Tamang of Sigarche settlement in Gati VDC, Sindhupalchok, has been working as a daily wage earner to support her family after her father Tek Bahadur died in the 2015 earthquake. 

Her mother, Nirmaya, 48, was rendered disabled when the earthquake flattened her home. Besides her mother, she has an 11-year-old sister who goes to a local school.

Every morning, Rejina walks to a local quarry to carry stones for the villagers building their homes. 

The home that she lives in with her mother and sister these days is a shabby hut cobbled together after the destructive earthquake . 

Rejina says she had to quit school after the earthquake in order to support her mother and sister.

Her family had no money to buy food after the earthquake, much less books and stationery. Being the eldest child in the family, she decided to get a job, any job, as long as her family did not have to beg. 

“I was studying in grade six at a local school. Everything changed after the earthquake,” she says.

As a 14-year-old girl, getting a job carrying stones at the quarry was not easy for Rejina. She remembers the quarry operator refusing to offer her job.

“Seeing that I was just a little girl, they said I was not fit for the job. They took pity on me after hearing out my story and offered me the job.” 

Rejina earns a few hundreds rupees a day. The money is spent on food and schooling her sister.  

“There is no other source of income. We didn’t get the aid from the government to build our home because the house ownership documents were taken by my uncles after father died,” she says.  

Rejina is not the only child working as a daily wage earner in Sindhupalchok, according to the District Child Welfare Committee (DCWC). 

There were around 7,000 child workers in the district according to the survey that was carried out by the DCWC two years ago.  

“Post earthquake, we have found 291 earthquake-affected children working menial jobs to help out their families. There could be more such children but we do not have the exact figure,” says Rewati Raman Nepal, information officer at the DCWC.

Published: 25-12-2016 08:07

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