The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Kids crush stone for learning materials

[ 2007-11-2 ]
By Our CorrespondentJHAPA, Nov. 1: Devika Magar, 11, and Rabilal Dahal, 10, of Bhutanese refugee camp in Beldagi reach at nearby Ratuwa river bank in the morning and start crushing stones. The minors are the students of standard four and two respectively at local Green Valley English School at sector two of the camp. �We have been working here to earn some money for stationary materials. We work for about six hours before and after school," they said. They added that they have been earning from Rs. 30 to 60 everyday, and their income depends on the quantity of pebbles they crush at the riverbank. �There are many other students like us," said the innocent kids. The pebble is measured in a tin and they get Rs. 30 for a tin. Besides, there are other kids who dig out sands and make heaps for the contractors. Most of the children working at the river bank are minors under 14 but they are compelled to do manual labor as the allowances being provided to the refugees is not enough to fulfil their demands. �Not only the children like us but our parents also work in the fields outside the camps," they said. Caritas Nepal with the support of UNHCR has been supporting the school going children in the refugee camps and the organisations have been providing financial support for school fees and books. �But the support does not cover the expenses for dress and other stationary materialsShowing the boils on their palms, they said that how long they have to stay in the refugee camps.

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