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Bright Future Dawns on a Young Child Laborer

Arjun Tamang (name changed), 12 years, is a resident of Lele in Lalitpur District. For his age, he looks quite young—short and skinny. Arjun comes from a family of farmers. Arjun’s mother left the family along with his younger sister for another man. Arjun’s father, Kaley, was heavily traumatized after his wife left, and the trauma gave rise to a debilitating mental illness in him. Ever since, he has been taking strong medications. Kaley almost always sleeping, a side-effect of the pills he takes. His senile grandmother, Kanchi, also could not take care of him properly. On top of it, she blamed and scolded him every day for the misfortunes that befell the family.

Arjun, for the lack of love and care at home, started doing the rounds of his neighborhood instead of attending school. Eventually, he stopped going to the school and started working and living at a small restaurant. After some time, Arjun’s grandmother found and took him home. He started going to school again. His interest in studies was quite alive but the environment at home was not conducive.

After the Gorkha Earthquake, GNI Nepal started to distribute relief to the survivors in Lele and surrounding areas. During the relief operation, the homeless Tamang family was identified as a needy family. After a few days, a team from GNI’s headquarter in South Korea visited them and listened to their story. Arjun’s father requested to take care of his education and future. After many discussions and consultations, GNI Nepal decided to invest in Arjun’s education.

GNI Nepal’s team searched for a school with modest fees but high-quality education. After assessing reading, writing and speaking skills, Arjun was admitted to grade three in a school in Kathmandu. He lives in the hostel located on the school premises along with his seniors and classmates. Binda Nepal, his teacher and hostel warden relates, “In the beginning, he was lost most of the times. He would not mingle with other kids. Now, he is an active kid in the class and on the playground”.

Arjun is the monitor of the class and is responsible for maintaining discipline in the classroom. According to his social studies teacher this duty he is carrying out excellently. He is a diligent kid: wakes up at six every morning without a fuss, eats his breakfast and studies until eight o’clock. After that, Arjun eats his morning meal, puts on his uniform and goes for the morning assembly.  At nine, classes begin.

For a kid who worked at a restaurant before joining the school, he is progressing quickly at academics. He is good at math and his spoken English has also improved significantly over the last few months. He regularly participates in extracurricular activities and athletics; among which he has excelled at sprinting. As a sign of his excellence, he came first in a recently held sports competition. During leisure, he dances and watches TV.

Arjun will continue to study in the same school for the coming years.

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