Ground Reality

12 Feb 2012
Hospital employees keep 500 domestic child labor

Hospital employees keep 500 domestic child labor

DHARAN, FEB 11 - 2012, Kathmandu Post
Over 500 school-going children have been allegedly employed as domestic help by the staff of the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan.

The children have neither been provided access to education nor facilities set by the Sunsari District Child Welfare Committee.

Of around 1,600 hospital employees, including doctors and nurses, more than 1,000 are residing in the quarters provided by the hospital, and most of them have kept children as domestic help.

Register of the hospital Nanda Kumar Thapa claimed most of these children have been employed as domestic help by their own relatives. He, however, said he was the one to propose keeping children as domestic help by securing their rights.

"It was me who forwarded the proposal. However, lack of coordination has caused a problem," he said. Sakuntala Subba, the executive director of UPKA Nepal, an NGO working for children, said it has been conducting informal classes targeting some children employed as domestic help by the hospital staff.

She said most of the children belong to marginalised communities and hail from Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts. Most of them are in the 10 to 16 age group.

"As the children seemed interested in studies, we started classes in the afternoon," she said.

"Some children are talented," said teacher Gita Magar, adding that most of them are dropouts. The children get a monthly pay of up to Rs 2,000 as domestic help.