Poverty Led Children of Tekanpur to leave School and Work as Wage Laborers

  February 26, 2024 By: Shreya Parajuli

Children from Dalit Community of Manthali Municipality-2, Tekanpur are compelled to leave schools and have been working as wage laborers due to poverty. Dalit families from around 90 households of Sarki community have to work for days and nights for wage labor.

Man Bahadur Sarki, a local, expressed that they have to travel from the district headquarters Manthali to Kathmandu and India for wage labor. He says that more than 70 people come to Manthali every day to find work and to work as laborers. They have to leave their small children at home early in the morning to go to work and return late in the evening. He added that everybody of workable age whether male or female goes out to work and children or elderly people who cannot work stay at home. With the wages earned the family enjoys the meal. However, after eating in the evening, they worry about finding new work the next day. Despite being  connected to the headquarters, only one individual has graduated from that settlement so far. Some have studied up to class 12 but are forced to work as wage laborers.

Bir Bahadur Sarki, a local, said that he dropped out and started working as a wage laborer after completing seven or eight classes. Even those who have studied don’t find jobs and have to leave their studies and start working. It’s challenging to focus on education when there’s nothing to eat at home. They choose to work to earn and feed themselves. These Dalit communities of Tekanpur have very little land and there is no production due to drought.

According to Makar Bahadur Sarki, corn is one of the common crops, but it can’t be grown without rain. He added that people have to work to feed themselves. Additionally, savings are difficult with just the earnings from wage labor. In case the residents fall seriously ill, their only option is to take loans. Despite the presence of various cooperative organizations in the nearby headquarters, people open accounts to take loans not to save.

Many residents have taken loans from different cooperatives, and the interest on these loans is increasing. There is no other way to repay the loan. The cycle of hardship continues as debts pile upon debts in the Dalit community.

Nabaraj Ghimire