Chandra-Kala is thirty-one years old and lives with her daughter and two sons. Her husband has been working as a labourer in Malaysia for the past 4 years.
Chandra is a former Kamaiya bonded labourer. She was born into bondage and got married at the age of 14. She gave birth to her first child while she was washing dishes as a Kamaiya. She used to work until 10pm every night and woke up to feed the animals at 2am. She was only able to breastfeed her baby twice a day, and says it is a “miracle she survived.”
Although Chandra-Kala’s husband sends back some money each year from Malaysia, this is not enough to live on. Chandra-Kala works as an unskilled labourer. The first time she received a loan from our local partner in Nepal (to buy an ox) was the first time she had had money of her own.
Chandra-Kala uses the money her husband sends to buy wood to build a better house for her family, but needs to access additional finance through the project to be to complete it. Before building their current house (around 9 years ago), the family lived in a plastic sheeting house for several years after being freed from the Kamaiya system. Now she wants to have a bigger house, with more windows. She doesn’t want the whole family to have to sleep in the same room as they currently do, especially as her children are getting older.