Karuna, from Gosaikunda Municipality, is sixteen years old. A few years ago, a man came to her village and met with her family. He told them that a place in Kathmandu helped children from impoverished backgrounds attain quality education. He said that the place was a boarding school, but they wouldn’t have to pay for anything to send their children there; instead, the family would receive some money every month to help them out. Karuna’s parents thought that it was an excellent opportunity. The person said that he himself would take Karuna there. For a family that could not afford to give their children the kind of care and education this place was offering, they thought that this was a golden opportunity that shouldn’t be passed. Karuna and six other children from the village went to Kathmandu with the man.
When they reached Kathmandu, they were never taken to the boarding school that was promised, but to a brick factory, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Instead of the care and education that were promised, they were given inadequate food and no beds. They were forced to work in the brick factory. They were cut off from the rest of the world, and not allowed to talk to anyone, not even their families back home.
One night, they ran away together, but they were caught. When they were brought back to the factory, they were brutally beaten and forced back to work. After some days, they gathered their courage again and ran away. This time, they made it; they found a phone, and called Karuna’s father first. He was able to find them and brought them back home.
Karuna’s family and the others filed a case against the perpetrators. Thankfully, the perpetrators were caught and punished.
Karuna is now back in her village and studying in the tenth grade. She is also a member of the school child club. “I hope no child has to go through what I went through again”- says Karuna. Karuna and her family are vigilant about any strangers that might come to the village to traffic children. They warn the families around them, and other children too.