DEUKHURI (DANG), Sept 24: Sarita Chaudhari, 30, of Chaulahi VDC-7 worked as a Kamlari (bonded laborer) during her youthful days. This prevented her from going to school and was hence illiterate.
However, freed from bonded labor in the year 2000, fate gave her a second chance. Twelve years on, Sarita and other women from her community are no longer illiterate.
They have been receiving informal professional education under Education for Earning Program being run by the government in 15 districts of the mid-western region.
“The real freedom is in being educated and acquiring professional skills to earn one´s livelihood,” said Sarita. “The education program being run by the government has given us a new life,” added Sarita.
She said the skills acquired through education have helped her a lot in vegetable farming. “We have started employing new methods in vegetable farming and this has helped us increase production. We now are in a position to afford our children´s education,” she said.
Suntali Chaudhari, 30, another Kamlari has a similar story to share. Though she carried her master´s son to school every day, she never got the opportunity to attend school. “Nobody taught us at home. But every day I took the landlord´s son to school, he taught me new letters of the alphabet,” said Suntali. “The education program being run by the government helped us learn a lot. This has made life easier,” she added.
Similarly, Pramila Chaudhari (29) now sees a bright future ahead of her. “We don´t have any grudges against any one. With education we can now create a bright future for ourselves,” she said. Pramila said the government should focus on educating the masses to empower them.
“Not all the Kamlaris have the opportunity to acquire education. The government should educate them so that they can uplift their financial status,” she added.
Rita Chaudhari, a teacher who has been imparting informal education to the Kamlaris, said the women from the Kamlari community are adept at using knowledge acquired through education in practical life.
A total of 32,000 illiterate women, including 532 former Kamlaris, have been receiving informal as well professional education under the government run program.